Monday, August 15, 2005


Demolition Threat in Glasgow

Glasgow Housing Association seek undemocratic demolition solution for Sighthill housing estate in Glasgow. Tenants continue to fight against housing privatisation agenda, as 1,200 homes come under threat.

Last thursday, 18/08/05,a small group of committed tenants from the 'Sighthill Save Our Homes' campaign group, alongside housing activists from Glasgow, lobbied the local office of GHA,(Glasgow Housing Association), at 30 Castle Street, Royston, to protest against what they perceive as 'harrasment and bullying' by the landlord, GHA. The Association want to eradicate half of the Sighthill area as it presently stands, with the planned demolition of five double blocks in Fountainwell. Tenants at the lobby felt this would result in the 'destruction of Sighthill as a community'.

The tenants wanted to have a meeting with Bob Maguire, the local housing manager, about the planned demolitions. At a previous meeting organised by the Save Our Homes group on july 28th in Sighthill, the group were told by Mr.Maguire that they were welcome to send a deputation to his office anytime. 'Sighthill Save Our Homes' had previously written to the office in early May, and had finally received a reply stating that GHA 'would be in contact' in late June. With the planned demolition of their homes freshly annonunced, the protesters felt it was time to take matters into their own hands. They were refused a meeting.

Graham Campbell, a tenant from the Fountainwell area, said that the Sighthill tenants had only become aware of the demolitions through press reports. No tenant had seen any plans of the area, and no-one in the area had known of the demolitions before reading about it in the newspapers. Mr. Campbell described GHA's attitude as 'incredible', saying that many tenants in the area felt that a decision over the future of their homes had already been taken despite considerable resistance from the local community.

GHA had previously stressed that no decision on the future of the blocks would be taken until the results of a social survey were known. The results are now known.
50% of Fountainwell tenants are 'satisfied with their homes', with 83% of Sighthill's 'other half' in Pinkston satisfied with their homes. Mr. Campbell, noted that the figures reflect the way the Fountainwell blocks have been run down deliberately in order to 'facilitate' demolition. He described the GHA's decision after the release of the results as, "just another example of GHA's contempt for tenants".
Alan Graham, a tenant from the Pinkston blocks, was equally appalled:
"We can't trust the announcements of GHA after the way they've ignored and rode roughshod over our voices. People here fear the Pinkston blocks will also be demolished after Fountainwell".
Despite GHA promising that all tenants who wish to stay will be re-housed in the area once demolition is complete, there are real fears that many will be re-housed elsewhere in less suitable locations. This has been the pattern in other mass demolitions throughout Glasgow's urban history.

The news of the demolition comes on the back of GHA's recently announced intention to cut the 24 hour fixed concierge service, which provides frontline service and maintenance to all Sighthill blocks. This is seen as part of the deliberate run-down of housing stock preceding demolition. Some tenants think this will lead to increased vandalism, a general escalation in crime and, potentially, increased fire risk. The concierge service has generally been deemed one of the few success stories in high-rise management over the last few decades. According to Ian Mcinnes from the Glasgow Save Our Homes campaign, it is widely believed in Sighhill that the downgrading of the service,
"is a deliberate strategy to drive tenants out through fear to facilitate demolitions".
For Macinnes, "this constitutes cruel and inhumane treatment".

The Glasgow Save Our Homes group, and their affiliated group in Sighthill, want the existing high-quality 24 hour fixed concierge service to be maintained, enhanced and promoted as a good example throughout the UK. They urge GHA to abandon its intent to demolish Fountainwell and to initiate another full review with proper tenant consultation, before any further annoncements on Sighthill's future are made. They also say that there should be immediate investment in the housing stock as it stands, citing disinvestment as a clear breach of the Tenant-Landlord agreement, and as a direct contradication in terms of the Housing Scotland Act of 2001.

The concern of the Sighthill tenants is mirrored throughout Glasgow with increasing tenants concern about GHA policy and practice right across Glasgow. There has been a marked increase in evictions since the stock transfer from the City Council to the GHA. Promised refurbishments have yet to materialise, a rent review is under consideration after only three years despite promises that rents would remain unchanged for five years, and the much-vaunted tenant participation has been delayed indefinitely - perhaps until 2033 according to a recent 'Glasgow Herald' report. The predictions of those campaigning aginst the 2002 housing stock transfer in Glasgow have materialised with a vengeance. As the same promises are rolled out in Edinburgh ahead of the imminent stock transfer ballot, the post-transfer situation in Glasgow will be watched with keen interest.

Bill Ramsay, in a recent letter to the Herald, (29/07/05), summarises expertly. "Many of us continue to argue that the funders of the GHA, the banks, are ultimately in control of an organisation that remains the largest social housing organisation in western Europe. Under these circumstances there is a greater chance of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration putting men on Mars over the next couple of decades, than there is of Glasgow Housing Association delivering community ownership for its tenants. Space launches have, for unfortunate reasons, once again become worth watching. So too will be how the proponents of stock transfer fare on Planet Edinburgh".

Sunday, August 14, 2005


PRESS RELEASE and invitation to attend. Sighthill SAVE OUR HOMES demo

A Community Under Attack from GHA Bullies

On Thursday 18th August 2005, at 11.00am Tenants from Sighthill will be demonstrating, outside the Glasgow Housing Association Limited’s (Compas LHO) local housing office at 30 Charles Street, to protest against the harassment of tenants by this landlord, who wish to demolish their homes in half of Sighthill; 5 double blocks in the Fountainwell area. * - Source GHA Ltd survey). This would result in the destruction of Sighthill as a community.

At a recent public meeting on July 28th the Local Housing Manager, Bob McGuire stated that his staff were trained to deal with tenants properly and respectfully.
Also present at that public meeting was Paul Martin MSP who is a member of the GHA Ltd’s Board of Management . Paul states on this website referring to a meeting of 26th June; “The event, which took place at St Kevin's school, was organised by Save Our Homes campaigners to let the Sighthill community express opinions over the possible demolition of many homes in the area.
Over 2000 flats are currently under review for demolition as part of the GHA’s housing stock transfer, and many residents are concerned that a decision has already been taken over their future.
However, the GHA have stressed that no decision on the future of the flats will be taken until the results of a social survey are known.” *

This is Censorship

Well, the results are now know* more than 72% of Fountainwell tenants oppose demolition and 80% of Pinkston tenants are likewise opposed. However the revealed decision of GHA Ltd without who did NOT CONSULT was 1,100 flats in Fountainwell for demolition in and 1,000 Pinkston flats for modest refurbishment. The the people were and are against demolition but the GHA decided in favour and just as was the case with the Red Road, the tenants of Sighthill only found out via the mass media who were told initially to ‘sit on it’. Don’t tell the tenants till the official announcement was the message and then GHA Ltd. sends the information out to a few of the tenants by second class post thus guaranteeing that they get it after the media has announced the GHA Ltd decision to the world – so what was the point of the survey exercise? No part of Sighthill is safe. You cannot trust the GHA Ltd.

Target for Community Destruction

Sighthill Save Our Homes is opposed to the demolition of the Fountainwell area of Sighthill which is actively being targeted by the GHA Ltd for Community Destruction with tenants being bullied, by Housing Officers to accept re-housing outside the Sighthill area.

But You’ll Never walk alone
Tenants from across the city will be lobbying the Glasgow Housing Association Limited in support of Sighthill and to protest against the threat of demolishing up to 30,000 homes.

Lack of Investment by Anti-Social Landlord
Tenants are angry at their treatment at the hands of GHA Ltd. who talk about regeneration while acting in breach of the tenant landlord agreement with their policy of wilful neglect.

They are angry that the Scottish Executive are backing the activities of this exclusive, secretive, authoritarian landlord who are sitting on over £140million and are proposing to cut services and demolish huge numbers of homes without consultation. In fact GHA Ltd are secretive and refuse to consult with the tenants who would be affected by their decision making processes which are similar to the democratic style of Robert Mugabe or Ariel Sharon on housing policy.

 DANGER GHA Ltd Action Risks Glasgow Crime Wave + Fire Raising
Tenants are angry at the GHA Ltd’s intention to CUT the 24 HOUR Fixed Site Concierge Service. This will unquestionably lead to an escalation in real crime and put tenants into a state of
fear and alarm. The risk of fire will also be increased putting lives in danger. They say that they are communicating with tenants but could not be bothered sending an official along to a well publicised meeting in Sighthill. It is widely believed that the downgrading of the ‘Rolls-Royce 24
Hour fixed Site Concierge Service to a glorified mobile patrol service with staff cuts of two thirds from 144 to 50 for Glasgow starting with Sighthill, is a deliberate strategy to drive tenants out through fear to facilitate demolitions. This constitutes cruel and inhumane treatment.

They are angry at the ZERO level of consultation and the misinformation from GHA Ltd. whose idea of consultation is to say that they have spoken to the Tenants’ Committee of the Local housing Organisation ( LHO), a body which is the local branch of the GHA Ltd and which does not communicate with the Community in a meaningful way. It only issues glossy PR newsletters which are about spin, not dialogue.

The wilful neglect of communities which have not received a penny of investment since 2002. This is a clear breach of the Tenant - Landlord Agreement and at odds with the Scotland Housing Act 2001. So called regeneration is nothing more than a euphemism for the destruction of communities. The proposed wilful destruction of Sighthill will, if GHA Ltd have their way, be replicated in Cartyne, Govan, Gorbals, Red Road and elsewhere with 30,000 homes under review for demolition.

Need - not Real Estate Speculation
GHA Ltd say they don’t want to spend money on homes which may be demolished in the future; in the mean time families have to live in damp houses with fungus on the walls!
What is needed are the Multi-storey Flats in Fountainwell and other parts of Glasgow to get a substantial part of the £140 million surplus as investment to improve the living .
Tenants and Concierges say that the existing high quality fixed Site Concierge Service should be enhanced and promoted as a good example throughout the UK.

Social Apartheid
Save Our Homes despite its unhappiness with the present landlord opposes Secondary Stock Transfer, realising that this will as surely as night follows day lead to ghettoisation and increase poverty resulting from further cherry picking by housing associations seeking the most desirable properties and leaving the residual housing behind.



Sighthill SAVE OUR HOMES is an affiliate of

The media are invited to attend and you can get more information from Graham Campbell on 079 4093 7241 or Sean Clerkin on 881 3338 after 6.00pm or Iain on 07976 718 111

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