Monday, January 30, 2006

Legal battle at tiny boat club over rights to landing bank

Pic. Jim Gillespie at the Dumbarton Club's site
Legal battle at tiny boat club over rights to landing bank
YOU will find no expensive yachts or speedboats, nor extortionate joining fees for the privilege of taking to these waters.
For members, there is only one request: just £2 a week, half of it for electricity, the other half for teabags.
But now a community boating club which has been based in one of Scotland's most deprived areas for generations faces eviction after being taken to court by an offshore company in what one MSP describes as an act of "grand land theft".

Beriston Ltd, based in the British Virgin Islands, is behind plans by Turnberry Homes for housing on the banks of the River Leven, in Dunbartonshire.

The company owns the strip of riverside land, but the title deed is one of a several granted erroneously by a Scottish Executive agency.

The club says the ground belongs to the townsfolk under a charter granted to the burgh of Dumbarton by King James VI in the seventeenth century. It is now contesting the case in the Court of Session.

Members of Dumbarton Motor Boat and Sailing Club say that, should the land be sacrificed for housing, it will sound the death-knell for the last affordable boating group in the region.

Beriston has already served an interdict ensuring the club's members are not allowed access to the yard, with fences cordoning off the area.

One member, Jim Gillespie, 49, who retired from marine engineering due to ill-health, said the club counts "pensioners, retired folk, disabled people, kids" among its 50 or so members.

It is an area with a proud shipbuilding heritage where, he stresses, the people are inextricably connected with the river.

Our members can't afford to use a private marina to go sailing," he said. "If this goes ahead, it'll take away the river from working-class people." He added: "Some of the kids have wee cheap boats. They're only worth a couple of hundred pounds, but they think they're priceless.

"We've been here since the 1960s, and people have been going down to the river for generations . . . My great-greatgrandfather was involved in the-then Dumbarton Boat Club and my father won cups for rowing."

The fault, Mr Gillespie believes, lies with the Registers of Scotland, an executive agency responsible for land and property registers. He is trying to press West Dunbartonshire Council to cite the charter to reclaim the title deeds.

It is understood register officials were unaware of the royal charter's existence, when they registered titles to portions of the Leven in recent years. The charter stipulates that the local community has full rights to the Leven and its banks. It is understood there are at lease 10 erroneously registered titles to the area, including one wrongly attributed to Scottish Enterprise for its Loch Lomond Shores development.

The Herald has revealed that about £1.8bn of common good assets have been "lost, illegally alienated and neglected" by local authorities.

Frances Curran, Scottish Socialist MSP for the West of Scotland, said that were the court to find in Beriston's favour, it would be tantamount to "grand land theft". She said: "It's unbelievable how these tide deeds have fallen into the hands of companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and big business."

Cameron Fyfe, a partner at Ross Harper specialising in human rights, has taken on the case of the club's members, "We believe the charter from i 1609 is still in force today." The executive confirmed that officials at Registers of Scotland are holding discussions with the council over titles on the Leven. The local authority has even floated the possibility of using compulsory purchase orders to regain possession of certain title deeds.

A spokesman for West Dunbartonshire Council said the "ball is in Turnberry Homes' court just now. "They have been asked by the council to define exactly where and what they are proposing to do and the council will then consider that proposal."

John Heath, land and development director for Turnberry Homes, said as the matter had been taken to the Court of Session, "Turnberry Homes is unable to comment further". Aileen Low, the solicitor representing Beriston at the Court of Session, declined to comment.

Source Martin McLaughlin Herald Jan 28

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North Kelvin Community Council, North Kelvinside,West End Glasgow

North Kelvin Community Council, North Kelvinside,West End Glasgow: "Save NK Pitches"
Councillor Jim MacKechnie joins North Kelvin Community Council (NKCC) and the North Glasgow Football Development Group (NGFDG) in opposing in the strongest possible terms,Glasgow City Council's decision to list the football piches at the top of Queen Margaret Drive as 'surplus to requirements', paving the way for their sell-off and development .

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Council launches transport survey

GLASGOW City Council launched a major consultation exercise this week, which aims to explore the future of local transport within the city.The consultation addresses key issues such as parking enforce-ment, development of cycle lanes, prioritisation of public transport, pedestrian access in the city centre, road safety and traffic pollution and gives the public the chance to contribute to the strategy. Lord Provost Liz Cameron and William O'Rourke, the city's Roads Convener, led by example by being the first to complete their questionnaire at the library and learning centre at GoMA. Lord Provost Liz Cameron said: "The pub-lic are bound to have their own opinion of the kind of transport facilities they would like to see. "I'm sure they will jump at the chance to have their say and help shape the council's ongoing plans to deliver improved services across the city over the next few years.

Councillor William O'Rourke added: "The council is committed to providing quality transport to its residents, visitors and the thousands of people commuting to and from the city on a daily basis. That's why we want them to get involved so we can make the changes they want to see." The findings will help shape the council's Local Transport Strategy to be submitted to the Scottish Executive later in the year.

The last transport consultation completed in November 2000 demonstrated the importance and value of the initiative, with many of the concerns raised by the public leading to positive investment in local transport now and for the future.

In 2000, the public were overwhelmingly in favour of public transport receiving priority over cars and lorries and wanted more information for passengers. As a result GGC, in partnership with First, has developed and is implementing streamline a ground-breaking priority bus system that provides faster, more frequent bus services and offers pas-sengers real-time updates on the progress of each streamline service at their bus stop. "Streamline demonstrates succinctly the importance of the 2006 Consultation and the direct link between public opinion and Council investment. Councillor O'Rourke continued: "Additionally, 88 per cent of responses to the questionnaire for the previous Local Transport Strategy either "Agreed" or "Strongly Agreed" that residents should have priority over commuters for on-road parking. From this, we imple-mented eight new Restricted and Controlled Parking Zones in areas that suffered heavily from commuter parking. These schemes have been successful in providing local residents priority to on-road parking spaces over commuters."

The council, in partnership with First, has been responsible for implementing Streamline on eight bus routes across Glasgow, including from Maryhill Road to Tollcross Road and Great Western Road to Clarkston Road. The consultation period is open until March and the questionnaire is available online at the Council website, or to order free reply-paid paper copies by calling 0800 027 7362.

Source West End Mail

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Proposals to boost parks sought


Proposals to boost parks sought GLASGOW City Council have called on companies to submit their ideas to develop visitor facilities in parks through out the city, including Kelvingrove and the Botanic Gardens.A proposal was made by the council that a number of documents be published in order to invite ideas for the development of visitor facilities in Glasgow's parks. The documents are to assess the relevance of interest from companies in applying for leases and franchises in such parks as the Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park, Queen's Park, Victoria Park, Springburn Park, Tollcross Park, Pollok Country Park, Bellahouston Park and Glasgow Green. In September 2005, a report was approved by the Parks and Facilities Committee, which outlined proposals to improve visitor facilities in parks.

According to the proposal "the documents are intended to outline what is considered to be 'acceptable development' within the context of each specific area." Each document will outline the historic relevance of each park and the customer facilities which would be acceptable within each area. Existing buildings within each of the parks which could be utilised instead of them lying unused will be detailed.

These buildings will be leased by the council rather than sold. In a report by Robert Booth, Director of Land Council seek proposals to attract visitors to city's parks Services, he stated: "the development of visitor and community services would be subject to a positive outcome in community consultation." He went on to write: "It is hoped to stimulate interest in a variety of sectors of the community and facilitate the development of local economic opportunities. Positive discussions have already taken place with Local Development Companies to ascertain the possibilities of social enterprises taking up options to operate in parks." The documents will offer no commitment to contract with any individual proposer or developer.

Source West end Mail

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Scotlands green campaigns

Scotsman Use "Bugmenot" to get in

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bristol pool ocupied

A group of protesters have occupied the site of the former Bristol North swimming bath on Gloucester Road.The group entered the building in the early hours of Saturday demanding the building is reopened to provide a non-commercial space for the community.

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More of the commons under threat

The Canongate Community Forum claim the proposed Caltongate scheme, which includes offices, shops and a five-star hotel, would be built on land belonging to the people of Edinburgh. Critics have obtained a century-old map which marks out land to be held in the "common good".

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