Hope for Fairfield Farmhouse development

February 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Plans for development of a forgotten corner of Elder Park are moving forward with the formation of a working group of key players.

Linthouse Housing Association and Linthouse Urban Village, LUV, who were behind the original £4.5 million project to renovate the Fairfield Farmhouse building at the Govan Road corner, are now working on a scaled down project costing around £1.75 million.

Detailed plans suitable for a planning permission submission, are expected to be ready in a few months’ time.

Following extensive community consultation in January and February last year, the group has worked hard to listen to the whole community and has formed Fairfield Farmhouse Working Group incorporating The Friends of Elder Park, Glasgow City Council’s Land Services, Development and Regeneration Services (DRS), Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency, Social Economy Team in Govan, a Big Lottery advisor, Anniesland College, landscape gardeners and architects.

Ingrid Campbell co-coordinator with LUV fears if work isn’t started soon the derelict farmhouse could collapse. She said: ‘If it goes, this will add great expense to the project.’

John McBride, director of Linthouse Housing Association said: ‘We want a proposal agreeable to everyone and something which is sustainable.’

At various public consultations local people were sceptical of earlier proposals which not only included a re-vamp of the farmhouse but the construction of four, two-storey barns in the corner of the park.

Now the barns have been scrapped and the focus is on the historic farmhouse and yard.

Sunny Govan Radio Fundraiser

February 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Glasgow South

Sunny Govan Radio will host a fundraising event on Thursday 19th February at the Grand Ole Opry on Govan Road.  The evening, starting at 7.30pm, has a great line-up of entertainment planned with local bands supplying live music as well as a huge raffle and prize auction taking place.  Those entering the raffle will have the chance to win some great prizes,  the most sought after surely being 2 tickets for a trip aboard the Seaplane or a shirt signed by Olympic cycling hero, Sir Chris Hoy.  For those of you with designer tastes, GMTV presenter Lorraine Kelly has donated a super dress which will be up for auction along with autographed pictures of the entire GMTV team.


The target figure of £2500 will go a long way to help keep Sunny Govan Radio on the air.  Sunny Govan Community Radio is a not-for-profit radio station and aims to encourage and support local creative talent, fostering local traditions and providing services for the benefit, entertainment, education and development of our community.
Formed in 1998 the station broadcast for 2 weeks in August as a one-off but continued due to overwhelming support from listeners.  Over ten years later Sunny Govan is now a 24 hour radio station with March 2009 being the 2 year anniversary of their 24 hour, all-Glasgow licence to broadcast.  To listen, tune into 103.5FM or log onto
www.sunnygovan.org to listen online.

Elder Park Primary Earmarked for Demolition

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

It survived two world wars including an assault from the German Luftwaffe but now Elder Park Primary School is to be demolished by new owners Quarriers.

The children’s charity bought the 1899 Victorian red sandstone building for £265,000 from Glasgow City Council last year and intends to flatten it to construct an epilepsy centre. The plans have incensed locals who have formed SOS Linthouse, Save Our School. They hope to make the charity re-think its plans to demolish the building on St Kenneth Drive in Linthouse.

Govan was recently declared a conservation area but ironically the school is twelve feet over the boundary line.

Sarah Findlay of SOS said: ‘This is winnable and we intend to fight for this.’

Around 30 people comfortably gathered in the school for a meeting last month while heavy rains and high winds battered the water tight building.

And the group’s spirits have been boosted with the involvement of MSP Nicola Sturgeon who is now in the process of facilitating a meeting between Quarriers and SOS. There is hope this might be convened before the end of the year.

Sarah said: ‘No-one for Quarries has turned up at any of our meetings and all we have had is a letter. Children at the school have proposed the school could have an art centre on the ground floor and housing above – which would be great for the area.’

A spokesperson for Quarriers said: ‘Two years ago when Quarriers first began searching for a site in Govan to build a new National Epilepsy Centre, the criteria was that is should be situated close to the Institute of Neurology at the Southern General Hospital. When Quarriers agreed to purchase the site in September 2007 it was made clear to all concerned that the school would be demolished in order for the National Epilepsy Centre to be built. The new centre will be of national importance and will mean that people who suffer from Epilepsy in Scotland will be able to benefit from the most modern and up to date services.’

SPARR Celebrates Govan’s Heritage

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News, Top Stories

Friday Night in Brechin's BarA ship launches down the slipwayGovan’s shipbuilding heritage and historic links with the Gaelic speaking communities of the Western Isles have been celebrated in a dramatic performance called SPARR. Held in the Big Shed in Govan – the former Harland & Woolf engineering shed which has hosted flagship productions such as ‘The Big Picnic’ and ‘The Ship’ the free promenade performance was a year in the making.

Based on the actual lives and stories of Gaels who arrived in Govan to work in the ship yards, SPARR is the Gaelic word for ‘rivet’ and also means ‘to create an opening’.

Cast members in highland garb welcomed the audience into the huge space as the performance started. A wooden boat was being built in one part of the auditorium. A huge screen showing images from Govan’s past provided a backdrop. A two tier scaffold held musicians and the Glasgow Gaelic choir, and the clangs and clamour of the shipyards filled the air. As the evening progressed, the performers moved into and among the audience to tell the story. The audience were led from the crafting of Hebridean boats to the heavy industry of shipbuilding on the Clyde. In one memorable sequence, a local worker is teasing the ‘teuchters’. He is soon put in his place by a Gael who says ‘You just build the boats, but your feet are dry. We build them, sail them and skipper them as well.’

The cast line-up in front of the screen and start hauling ropes. The motion reaches a climax and the ship on the screen launches down the slipway. The workers cheer and throw their hats in the air. It is hard not to share the sense of achievement and pride. The evening closes with the Govan Fair procession led by the currentFair Queen and her entourage. The cast and audience followed the Queen to an area set up as a carnival and everyone sang an emotional version of ‘Flower of Scotland’. The final words spoken were ‘Welcome to the Govan Fair, the bar is OPEN!’

The project began with oral histories and folk memories being gathered from the community. These strands were developed into a narrative and a script. This traced the lives of Gaelic men and women as they arrived in Govan and established themselves in the workplace and in the community in the 19th and 20th century.

Participating groups in the production of Sparr included the Glasgow Gaelic Choir, Galgael, Cran Theatre Company and Theatre Hebrides. The project was led by Fablevision. Frank Miller from Cran Theatre said; ‘Govan has a vibrant, talented cultural community. I have never been let down by their energy and commitment in the telling of their stories. This project is the most ambitious production I’ve worked on so far. It really works and has captured the imagination of Govan as a whole – individuals, groups, communities and organisations. It is a lot of fun discovering a part of Govan’s history which, to some extent, has been forgotten.’

Sparr is designed to be an integral element of the Govan Cultural Hub. This is a vision for a centre of learning attracting local people and visitors alike. They can access traditional cultures and heritage and witness for themselves how Govan has managed to incorporate that diversity into a 21st century community. The cultural hub is co-ordinated through the Central Govan Action Plan which is a partnership aiming to retain and respect people’s roots and knowledge of past times in order to develop a strong community future.


The production of Sparr was developed by a team including: Liz Gardiner, Overall Director, Fablevision; Graham Hunter, Executive Director, set  design/historical advisor; Di Jennings, Project Coordination; Frank Miller, Artistic Director, Govan; Ian Stephen,  Scriptwriter; Peter Wilson, Film/Digital/Media, Govan; Elaine Marney,  Funding Coordinator/heritage resource materials development; Muriel Ann MacLeod Creative Director, Theatre Hebrides.

Destroyer Takes Shape in Govan Shipyard

December 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Glasgow West, Local News

Bow and Mast of HMS DuncanAn early Christmas present arrived on the Clyde this month in the shape of the steel bow and mast pictured here. They are destined to become HMS Duncan, the sixth, Type 45 Destroyer to be built at BVT Surface Fleet’s facility in Govan.

The sight will have heartened many, not least the 3500 workers employed at the Govan and Scotstoun shipyards where the contract for the six warships is being fulfilled. Each contract is worth £650 million.

Speculation that the current economic crisis could delay or even reduce work at the yards has been quashed by the arrival of the components which are heralded as a ‘significant step in the programme’.

The day before the arrival of the bow and mast at Govan, Vic Emery, BVT Surface Fleet Managing Director, announced he would be taking early retirement. This sparks fears for the yard which will have no dedicated manager. His replacement, Mark Cooper, will manage all BVT’s shipbuilding activity in Glasgow and Portsmouth.

The bow and mast came on a barge after a 500 mile trip from the Clyde yards’ sister yard at Portsmouth Naval Base in Hampshire.

Work will be ongoing over the festive period and will continue throughout 2009. The task of installing the bow and mast will begin after the launch of ship 5, Defender, in October 2009.

Between now and then, work continues on ship 3, Diamond, and on the outfitting of ship 4, Dragon which launched in November. Ship 5, Defender, is already starting to take shape on the berth at Govan. Angus Holt, Type 45 Programme Director said: ‘The progress that BVT is making in the programme is proof of the company’s commitment to delivering all six ships to the Royal Navy on time and on budget. The workforce in Glasgow is continuing to make hugely significant steps forward and it is as a result of their commitment that we have achieved several milestones in recent months with even more to come before the year end.’

HMS Dragon Launched at Govan

December 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

Dragon, the Royal Navy’s fourth Type 45 destroyer was successfully launched at the Govan shipyard.

Around 12, 000 people – including 2000 dragon masked schoolchildren – turned up to watch the spectacular event, which started with a prayer and the blessing of the ship by Monsignor Paul Donovan, the Royal Navy’s Chaplain.

After this, the Lady Sponsor, Mrs Susie

Boissier, wife of Vice Admiral Paul Boissier, Deputy Commander-In-Chief Fleet and Chief of Staff, named and launched the ship in the traditional way by breaking a bottle of champagne against the bow.

The Type 45 class is a multi-role escort vessel providing air defence and a range of capabilities to suit operational duties.

Vice Admiral Paul Boissier, told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘We are really delighted with Destroyer Dragon. It is definitely required because the level of threats we are facing is growing. So this advanced and modern destroyer is just what we need to combat them.’

An 18 metre image of a Welsh Dragon is painted on each side of the bow. The bow was fabricated at VT Shipbuilding in Portsmouth Naval Base and brought by barge to Glasgow. Once the ship hit the water, fireworks were set off in celebration.

Throughout the day there were various bands playing and entertainment from the sea cadets as well as an aerial display from Royal Navy helicopters.

The ship will be fitted out at Scotstoun yard. With the time required to complete that intricate work and for all the advanced technology to be tested, it will be 2011 before Dragon will be fully operational.

In 1999, BAE Systems (now called BVT) was awarded the Ministry of Defence contract to provide eight new ships of the Daring Class as part of the Type 45 Anti-Air Warfare Programme. Each ship costs approximately £650 million.

The ones launched before Dragon were called Daring, Dauntless and Diamond. Still to come will be Defender and Duncan.

Speaking after the launch, Alan Johnston CBE, CEO of BVT Surface Fleet said: ‘The launch of Dragon is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the progress that is being made on this programme on the Clyde. Four days ago, Dauntless, the second ship in the class, departed the Clyde on her maiden voyage on her first set of sea trials off the West coast of Scotland. Each milestone on the Type 45 contract is testament to the innovation, design and engineering skills of our employees and partners and proof of our commitment to building the next generation of warships for the Royal Navy.’

Dragon will be able to carry up to sixty Royal Marines Commandos and their equipment and operate a Chinook sized helicopter from the flight deck.

Complete with the latest upgrade to satellite communications systems, the destroyer will carry the world-leading PAAMS system (Principal Anti-Air Missile System) allowing it to defend high value ships from the most dangerous air threats, including multiple attacks by sophisticated anti-ship missiles.

Study Into Future of Govan Old

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Churches, Features, Glasgow South

A £31,000 study into the future of Govan Old Parish Church has been launched.

Heritage and kirk officials are looking into three ideas for the building which is one of Scotland’s most important historic and Christian sites.

A museum, a visitor centre linked to neighbouring business or a performance venue are all being investigated by Govan Workspace which is leading the study.

Worship on the site dates back 1500 years and the church is home to 31 medieval sculptures including the Govan Sarcophagus. The building is currently owned by the Church of Scotland.

Govan Workspace has been behind a number of successful projects in Govan including Six Harmony Row which provides office space to help start-up businesses.

New Govan Church was formed last year when three parishes in the area merged leaving Govan Old Parish Church building vacant.

Dick Carabine, Chairman of Govan Community Council said: ‘I would like to see the church being used for regular worship again. Many were heartbroken when the three parishes merged last year. I would also like to see guided tours being run on a regular basis.’

His thoughts are echoed by local Councillor John Flanagan, who said:  ‘I welcome the proposal to consider the future of Govan Old Parish Church. However, to succeed we must ensure that whatever proposal emerges, the Church retains an element of a ‘Living Church’ because Govan Old is one of the most important Christian sites in Scotland.’

Local Councillor Alison Hunter told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘This is a very good prospect for the area. I would like to see the space used for weddings and conferences – something that would bring more people into the church. It is a fantastic building and deserves greater exposure.’

Pat Cassidy Managing Director of Govan Workspace said: ‘Our overriding concern is that the church and its early medieval sculptures should survive as an entity in Govan where they belong.’

Grant McLennan, a spokesman for the Presbytery of Glasgow said: ‘Currently worship is held in the church once a week. We would wish to continue this. After time, ownership of the church could be passed to a charitable trust.’


* The church was open for Doors Open Day allowing a glimpse of the rare artefacts inside.

** What would you like to see the building used for? Email:localnews@btconnect.com

Green Groups Nominated for Awards

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

Izzie Johnston from Spruce CarpetsTwo Glasgow groups who aim to reduce waste going to landfill by recycling scrap material, are in the running for a Scottish Waste and Resources Award.

Spruce Carpets in Govan and Community Can Cycle in Castlemilk have been shortlisted in the Best Community Sector Initiative. They will be up against one other contender, Edinburgh based Changeworks. The awards take place at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow as this issue of the LOCAL NEWS is being distributed.The awards are led by Eventful Scotland, a partnership which includes the Scottish Government and the Community Recycling Network for Scotland.

Spruce Carpets which was named Social Enterprise of the Year by Scottish Business in the Community earlier this year, began life in 2005. The team recycle good quality surplus carpets destined for landfill by cleaning them. The refurbished items are then sold for a fair price in their Govan showroom. This creates training and employment opportunities through the processing, resale and fitting of the floor covering.

Community Can Cycle started in 2000 and operates an aluminium and steel can and glass bottle collection service. It recycles and sells the material to reprocessing companies. This helps to fund their bicycle repair and refurbishment workshop which has given more than 2000 local children access to free bicycle repair services and trains people to do that work.

Izzie Johnston, Spruce Carpets Chief Executive said: ‘Last year we diverted 70 tonnes of waste from landfill disposal and helped more than 1000 houses in the Glasgow area carpet their homes at an affordable cost. We are delighted to be in the running for this award, which is a real testament to the hard work of all our staff and volunteers and to the local communities in which we serve.’

Jim O’Donnell, Founder and Project Development Manager of Community Can Cycle said: ‘Getting to this stage is fantastic news for the charity and the community. Boosting the charity’s profile encourages more people to become involved and helps us to become more successful – it’s great to be in the limelight.’

New Southern General – Advisors Appointed

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News, Uncategorized

Currie and Brown have been appointed as Technical Advisers to help with the completion of the South Glasgow Hospital. The £842 million development will replace the Southern General Hospital.

The hospital should be completed by 2014 and will have 1109 adult beds, 240 children’s beds and a laboratory. The new children’s hospital will be supported by an upgraded maternity unit on which work has already begun as part of a separate project.

Martin’s Bike Column – October 08

October 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Glasgow West, Local News

Pothole Patrol

I joined Councillor Danny Alderslowe on pothole patrol outside Queen’s Park just after 7.30 am recently, writes Martin Graham. The idea was to make cyclists aware of the Council’s commitment to repair potholes within 24 hours on main roads and within 5 days on side roads. We handed out leaflets and free bike maps to over 50 people and the response was tremendous: people were delighted that someone was taking an interest. Also, there was an element of camaraderie which let cyclists know that there were other folks out there concerned about their issues.

If you spot a pothole you can call the council on 0800 373635 to report it. You can also let Danny know via email at danny.alderslowe@councillors.glasgow.gov.uk


Pedal for Scotland

This year’s Pedal for Scotland took place on 14 September, and was the biggest yet, with over 5000 people making the 55 mile journey from Glasgow Green to Victoria Park in Edinburgh, via Linlithgow and South Queensferry.

There were plenty of refreshment stops on the way, and Avonbridge Parish Church laid on their usual home baking tent for the ravenous cyclists. The pit stop was needed as one of the biggest hills on the route is just after that village. At Linlithgow, Sustrans had a huge tent serving pasta, soup and sandwiches, the queue was massive!

Participants ranged from experienced cyclists to complete novices and special mention must be made of Patrick, aged 5, who was enjoying the day with his dad.


Bad Luck in the Clyde Cycle Tunnel

I’ve had a run of punctures recently, then a broken chain out at Mugdock Park. To trump it all, I was out on a ride with my brother and we went through the Clyde Tunnel. My bro ended up crashing just at the bend on the southbound cycle path. Luckily he was wearing a helmet and his wheels took the brunt of the force, but it could have been much worse, as the tunnel is a very enclosed space with a metal barrier running down it.

The tunnel is a great route linking Govan and Yoker, and is the only way to negotiate the river between the Science Centre and the Ferry at Whiteinch.

Glasgow City Council has recently secured funding to progress some upgrades to the tunnel, including a controlled entry system supported by CCTV cameras. Hopefully, this should discourage anti-social behaviour in the tunnel and make it a more pleasant environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

There is also talk of a new ferry between Govan and Partick which would re-instate a centuries-old link.

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