Present: Iain McInnes (Govanhill Community Council); Mrs Fyfe (Sighthill); Iain Logan (Knightswood Residents Group); Beatrice McGovern (Knightswood Residents Group); Sean Clerkin (SOH); Sam Harper (Blytheswood LHO); Jacqueline Kennedy (Springburn); Agnes McGowan (Dennistoun); Colin Forrester (Red Road Save Our Homes); Isabell McBride (Riddrie); Ian Muir (Jordanhill); J. Purton (Possil); Nick Durie (Cedar Tenants Association); Daniel O'Donnel (Gartcraig Community Council/Carntyne And Riddrie Tenants Action Group [CARTAG]); Jim Adams (CARTAG); Grace Tolland (Milton); Tommy Austin (Townhead)
- Reports and updates from different areas
- The next conference
- Lobby of the GHA
- Any other business
Reports and updates from different areas:-
Iain McInnes talks about the logistics of the last conference and hopes for the next conference. He hoped that soon we could move towards some kind of delegate structure for the conferences.
Sean Clerkin mentions that there is to be a lobby of the GHA on the 22nd of June and that he'd like to discuss this.
Iain Logan reports that a friend of his conducted an analysis of the materials that GHA are using in Knightswood to overclad buildings. The analysis carried out at British Aerospace found that the materials would only last 10 years in the Scottish climate. He is currently trying to get a paper opy of this so that he can get it sent out as evidence of mismanagement in Knightswood.
Sean Clerkin reports that the Save Our Homes campaign has been given some funding to financial assitance to the development of this network.
Beatrice reports that she feels we should stop talking about homeowners and tenants and talk about 'Residents of Glasgow' as we are all being left in the dark or misinformed. We should all be entitled to be treated with courtesy and respect and we should all have a right to know what is going on in our communities.
Sam Harper reports that his time with the GHA showed up the problems with LHO and tenant representatives in that many of the people involved had no real interest in getting involved in the decision making. He said he has seen a gradual watering down of the powers and level of training of the LHOs and he said that many members of LHOs were guilty of self-censorship. For example he was here today and was perfectly within his rights to be participating and also be a member of his local LHO but many were scared to be open about their views and to risk sanction within their LHOs. Since he left the GHA board nearly two years ago he has yet to hear anything from them.
Colin Forrester gave a report that the reason he had gotten involved in his community was because he was upset at not being told what was going, not being involved in any of the decisions, and because of the truculent staff at the GHA. Grace noted that the same was true in her area, where the staff treat people like idiots.
Nick reported that his area was part of a regeneration corridor, and that in his opinion this meant plans were being laid to gentrify the area. He cited large GHA underspends on various local estates and chronic neglect as evidence of the potential threat of demolitions, as well as the planned £100 million council funded developments at the canal – where prices are to start at £150k a flat – as evidence of the type of housing that the council and developers would like to see in the area
Daniel O'Donnel reported that in his area (Carntyne) the whole strategy of demolitions and running the area down had begun in 1968. People in Carntyne had been fighting this since that time and many remain totally opposed to demolition.
Jim felt that we should be coming up with our own alternative housing strategy. In his area Jim is working on a 'participatory budget' to try and find out what people would like their rent and factoring fees to be spent on.
Iain McInnes agreed with Jim about coming up with our on housing strategies and noted that tenemental roofs across Scotland could have solar panels fixed onto them, and that this would allow for better energy efficiency, but that this kind of innovation has been rarely seen hardly ever driven by landlords, There was also a general agreement that discussions tended to be dominated by 'housing' but that 'housing' is situated in communities and that really much of what we are talking about is as much about bringing communities together as it is about housing directly. [See attached press clippings for kind of thing residents groups can get up to in relation to community strategies and planning.]
The next conference:-
After some discussion it was decided to hold the next conference on the 16th of September, 12 – 4pm. The venue is yet to be confirmed but it was decided that the Caledonian University lecture theatre where we held the last conference wasn't really suitable for a number of reasons. Places we identified as being suitable venues were the Renfield St Stephen's Church, Partick Burgh Halls and the Moir Hall in the Mitchell library.
There was some discussion about what we might want to discuss at the next conference.
It was felt that standards of workmanship and the quality of materials being used ought to be looked at. Colin talked about his own personal experience in the Red Road flats where years late 'overcladding' consisted of a lick of paint, which was entirely cosmetic and mostly geared towards those coming into Glasgow, so that they didn't see grey blocks. There was some discussion of the Scottish Housing Standard and how this related to this discussion. Colin asked who was developing these standards. Iain pointed out that it was 'stakeholders' like housing associations, some registered tenants organisations and the government. There was a general feeling that it would not therefore be independent.
Others also felt it was important to have some sort of investigation into the role of the council in the GHA and in the wider developments going on around Glasgow. There was a feeling that very little research had been carried out into the council's involvement in a lot of the things that we felt most angry about, and that any links between the GHA and the council should be followed up.
Sean proposed a discussion on 'the future of community ownership'. There were some problems with the wording of this. Nick proposed a widening of the discussion to talk about the role of housing associations and took on sorting out a workshop on this topic.
There was some discussion of GHA's status a charity. It was pointed out that GHA's sister company, the factoring service GHA (m) is not a charity and is a for-profit business that made a profit of £1 million last year. It was pointed out that GHA exists as a charity for tax reasons.