sighthill.jpgPosted by: lindsay, glasgow on 11:47pm Mon 22 Oct 07
Wait a minute! You cannot advocate thousands of people losing their homes because you happen to think they look shabby! What a nerve! and trust me all these new builds will look pretty scabby in ten or so years! As for not understanding why people want to stay in high rise……well sorry they’ve not come round to explain to you I don’t suppose they knew they had to justify themselves! The only reason the buildings look neglected are because they have been allowed to go that way. The GHA should be investing in the buildings but to be as judgemental as some of you sound is really not on. My aunt lives in one of the ‘eyesores’, but her view of the city is breathtaking, she has fabulous neighbours. Her elderly neighbour can get out and about because there is a lift in the building, if this gentleman were put up half a dozen stairs he would be house bound. Also next time your passing Sighthill go in and actually meet some of the residents or at least look at the beautiful parkland that surrounds it. If you’d ever set foot in it you’d realise how green and open it is, Come down from your ivory towers and actually think about the people and lives involved. Oh and please stop patronizing the Sighthill tenants, they do know where they live and much as it pains some of you they do like it. Trust me, there a lot of educated people live in Sighthill and they do not need to be told what they want or what would be good for them.

Opinions are divided over what should happen to Sighthill, as the quote above from the Evening Times website illustrates, but local residents are very clear. This today from the ‘Times…

RESIDENTS are stepping up the fight to stop their high-rise community being bulldozed.

Glasgow Housing Assocation wants to demolish 10 tower blocks in Sighthill to make way for new homes, shops and businesses.

But locals say the plan would kill off the neighbourhood they are proud to be part of.

And now they are urging Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell to intervene.

A public meeting is also being held in St Stephen’s Primary School on Monday October 29 to give residents the chance to air their views on Sighthill’s future.

Campaigners accuse the GHA of failing to take on board their opposition to demolition.

But the housing chiefs insist they have consulted fully with the community and have the support of the majority.

The GHA has agreed to go ahead with the demolition of five of the tower blocks on the Fountainwell side – around 1140 homes in total.

No final decision has been taken on the fate of the other five blocks in Pinkston Drive – totalling 2420 homes – but demolition is again the “preferred option”.

Residents fear nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of the GHA’s masterplan for Sighthill, due to be implemented in the next 15-20 years.

Elaine Ellis lives in a 16th floor flat in Pinkston Drive and is secretary of the tenants association. She said: “Our community is under threat.

“My mother has lived here for 40 years. There is a real sense of people looking after each other and we don’t want to lose that.”

Bob McGuire is community housing manager of Compass Local Housing Organisation, which manages the homes. He said: “All tenants have been given the chance to have their say. We have sought their feedback every step of the way.

“In fact, 14 tenants volunteered to be part of Sighthill Consultative Group, set up to represent the views of the community. We are, however, aware of the concerns of a small group of people.

“We are committed to resident consultation and engagement throughout the regeneration process and hope that the views and aspirations of the majority of Sighthill’s residents can be implemented.”

The Sighthill blocks were built in the mid to late 1960s near the site of St Rollox Chemical Works now a big Tesco.

The estate quickly became a tight-knit community and in recent years it has become multi-cultural.

Refugees and asylum seekers from around the world live next door to Glaswegians who have been in the area for decades.

Ms Ellis said: “In my block we have Chinese people, Polish people and Africans. It’s a huge melting pot.”

Publication date 22/10/07


11 thoughts on “The Fight Goes On To Save Sighthill

  1. Thank you Lindsay,well spoken. You obviously understand the isolated lives these beaurocrats live. Most of them consider the only way to live is in a leafy suburb with a garage and a couple of cars in the drive. Any other mode of living is just not understood.

  2. The Pinkston Tenants’ Association meeting in Sighthill on Monday 29th October went quite well in the end. Although it was attended by Paul Martin MSP, Springburn SNP Councillor Phil Greene and to my surprise (given I was chairing it!) two senior managers from the GHA – the first priority was what the tenants had to say about their housing. The GHA staff took reports of repairs needed and racial harassment occurring for one Zimbabwean asylum seeker resident who bravely spoke out and was supported by the tenants present from her church. It was the first time there had been a meeting including the misguided tenants who attended Compass/LHO’s so-called Consultative Forum – selected to exclude the PTA reps. These forum members have now had to recognise they need PTA as championed by Save Our Homes activists like myself and Elaine Ellis because the local Compass LHO has simply not “consulted” them for months after using them to gerrymander a yes vote for demolition from about 70 people at an open day in June 2006.

    The GHA’s Director of Finance and Regeneration David Hastings responsible for housing stock (demolition) surveys and consultations began by explaining the GHA’s Housing Futures Assessment process and the difference between core stock which they want to keep and invest in – and stock for disposal i.e. demolition or handover to someone else. Hastings went out of his way to assure us that no decision had yet been made by GHA Board (which contains several high-rise residents including apparently its chair Sandra Forsythe) about Sighthill but that there was a deadline April-September 2008 but he hoped it would be much sooner than April.

    In answer to tenants’ questions Bill Munsie (chair of what GHA calls Local shared housing services for north Glasgow) went even further and said that even if the decision by the GHA Board was to demolish – it would be ‘some years’ (i.e. at least 5-10 years) before it actually happened. In the meantime some “holding investment” in the flats could still take place so that they are up to standard during the regeneration process.

    For once the GHA people seemed to really listen to our sound arguments for the future sustainability of our flats, the spurious nature of Compass LHO consultations up to now; and the fact that even the GHA-funded GoWell mass health & population survey of 673 Sighthill residents (one of the 12 areas involved in this 10-year longitudinal surveys of 6,000 Glasgow residents on the impact of regeneration programmes) showed just 4% support for demolition with over 70% happy with their flats.

    Some of the ex-forum members were very vocifierous in saying some Pinkston buildings should come down, criticising the damp and level of repairs needed. But they agreed that it was largely down to the anti-social behaviour of some tenants combined with chronic lack of maintenance and repairs by GHA that there lives were made unpleasant. When asked directly by me from the chair “if these were sorted would you stay in Sighthill? one of them said yes.

    Once again the ODS consultants’ estimate for total refurbishment of £66 million was trotted out. This was hotly disputed as the exact real costs would be known to Compass/GHA based on the repairs records which landlords are obliged to keep for stock condition. In other words they know exactly how much each flat really needs and it certainly won’t amount to £66 million of refurb. The ODS/Compass 2006 stock condition survey which came up with the £55m figure was based on surveying just 2 flats (probably the ones in very poorest condition) in each double multi-block – just 12 flats overall)which they claimed would cost nearly £56,000 per flat!!

    This was clearly nonsense since ODS were obviously assuming worst-case scenario for each flat when most flats are in good condition though need some work doing – they do not all need total refurb.

    We know from other multies that a large part of water ingress comes form poor external cladding and roofing. Recent programmes for cladding similar buildings in Townhead and Edgefauld Rd, Springburn came in at between £1.5m and £2.5m per block. A maximum of £25million for all of Sighthill or just £10-15million if we’re talking Pinkston multies.

    Demolition contractors had been appointed for Fountainwell multies and had held one local consultative meeting on October 21st 2007 aiming to complete the job during 2008.
    In addition several tenants asked whatever happened to the new kitchens and bathrooms we were promised at stock transfer? Again the answer was dependent on whether Core investment or holding investment applied to Sighthill.

    Paul Martin and Phil Greene seemed to be totally convinced now that the high flats do have a future and that a deal could and should be reached as to a mix of new build in Fountainwell and refurbished housing in Pinkston which keeps the existing Sighthill community together. Some older tenants asked if they would be guaranteed to return in the new build, but the GHA could not give that assurance because it would breach the equality of the housing points system to give preference based on seniority instead of on housing need. However the need for a written guaranteed right of return for existing tenants is one of the PTA’s key demands.

    It was agreed to have a next PTA public meeting in early February 2008 with the same panel to report back on progress.

  3. It is disgusting the way white sighthillers are treated, branded racist becuase we did not want asylum seekers, i firmly believe the final nail in the Sights coffin was the influx of these asylum seekers(encouraged and supported by positve action in housing, also know as the illegal immigrants assistance sevice), but let me stick to the point, the fountainwell tenents heard that their blocks where coming down on TV (Scotland Today), not good, alot of stories have flown about, could not let them, unwanted 2014 games, sinking, you name it but still there is no reason coming out of GHA, i have heard tenents becoming very ill with worry and even dying , again stories but for the old people it is even worse the thought of moving, all the GHA groups set up are just a show, if ever tenent wanted to stay they will come down if thats what GHA want, Sighthill save Our Homes have done a good job and still do, i was always happy until the asylum seekers arrived, as i said in the start of this post final nail, Sighthill is a place i will always be proud of and not everyone there is a junkie or coloured, there still is a few white people there, long live Sighthill

    [Comments from GRN: It should be noted that this is not a view in any way endorsed by the network. The network has benefitted from SUTRA and now the PTA playing a valueable role. We respect the firm stance the Sighthill United Tenants and Residents Association and now the Pinkston Tenants Association has taken against racism, and for an inclusive community, but also in fighting for that community’s future, and improving the area, for all of Sighthill’s residents, whether they are white, black, pink or yellow; the problems that Sighthill face are problems of a housing authority and a city council that have seen fit to forget the area, and now to demolish it to make way for private housing. Those problems are faced equally by all of Sighthill’s residents who want to continue living in the area, regardless of whether they are black or white. Residents need to come together to fight for their communities. This is the only way we are going to improve our neighbourhoods.]

  4. GRN, are you suggesting racism, please do not play the race card with me,usual story if not pro asylum -multi culture(the biggest failure in British history) it will not work, the views above are the views of the majority of Sighthill residents, past and present, Fountainwell and Pinkston, i fully stand by the above piece, you must be out of touch with the people you are supposed to be helping as this is the view across Glasgow, it is disgusting the way white people where treated in Sighthill, please remember that asylum seekers are by International Law told to stop at first safest country so we should have zero, you wonder why only a handful of people turn up at meeting? well your answer is here, stop the PC nonsense and look after the indegious population, look what happened to the socialists for there asylum seeker worshipping, they where shown the door by the voters and rightly so, thankfully i have the majority by a long chalk who support my views

  5. I do not live in Sighthill but across in the southside. I agree with Sighthillman’s comments that white tennats ar etreated different and branded racist. My friend was born and raised in Gorbals all her life, she has a son of three and decided to pursue her application to GHA for a flat for them in the area. She has to remain in her parents house overcroweded as GHA say she is not a priority but there are young asylum seeker couples getting housed in the new builds in the area! Where’s the injustice in that? Not exactly making people proud of their culture/country. I feel that nowdays people are being pushed into racism and if were not careful Glasgow will end up the next New York a different Bronx for every race!!
    I dont see whats wrong with the sighthill flats, they seem secure and a happy community environment. I think with the correct repairs and money put in the flats will be fine.

  6. I attended the demolition of 2-4 [Eagle Heights] & 16-18 [Barony Heights] Fountainwell Place, in the wee small hours of the morning on Sunday 13th July 2008. Huntingdon Square had camera crews with hard hats standing by to record the event, together with a large trailer to feed them. The local indiginous youth hung about the old Templeton’s corner looking down into the Place.
    2-4 [St.Rollox Heights] Fountainwell Terrace was lit up at the rear revealing the demolition crews cabins. I beleive they will stay here whilst they butcher 6-8 Fountainwell Square (anyone know its heights name? was it Huntingdon Heights?)
    The Terrace and 37-49 [Tennant Heights] Fountainwell Avenue will be the last of the group of 5 to be demolished.
    Up till now I thought that Pinkston had been saved but a conversation with one of the demolition guys assured me that this was not the case and that the whole lot will be down within 2 years.
    As someone who moved out of Sighthill 22 years ago I suppose i am a bit of a hypocrite for moaning about this demolition but I honestly thought they’d be there forever.
    Ever memory I have of these flats is precious and these “people” at the GHA are destroying the monuments of our youth.
    I was the boy who got out his bed at 5 to 9 and still made it to school on time courtesy of the desicion to put Sighthill Primary on my front door. GHA should have been made to invest in Sighthill and not have been allowed this option. I hate to see all the shity looking, worthless pieces of crap that GHA are now cladding being allowed to stand while Sighthill is being subjected to this wanton act of terrorism. GHA are culpable as are Glasgow City Council. Between the two of them Fountainwell in the most part and Pinkston laterly have been allowed to decay to the point that they need to spend too much money on them now. Anyone else remember the cradle outside your bedroom window doing repairs as you lay in your bed during the summer? Any way, enough of this….F**k the GHA!!!! We are the people”””(of Sighthill that is)-Once from Sighthill always from Sighthill.

  7. I’ve walked through Pinkston and nearly ever face I saw was black. I don’t mind, maybe it was the future for Sighthill. I’m quite sure if Maggie Thatcher hadn’t introduced the right to buy your own council house then this would not have happened. I live in my own home in Knightswood but nothing will ever replace my great memores of growing up in Sighthill – would I ever have went back?……Only if the wife and I divorced.
    The GHA should be hung for what they have done to Fountainwell….its not too late for them to stop! I recently requested access to my former house in 49 Fountainwell just to see what 20yrs away had done…the GHA/Compass rejected my request quoting Health & Safety Legislation. Buy 4 now

  8. I hadn’t realised that the flats were due to be demolished. We were out of the country for quite a while last year and it was only when I saw the wonderfully moving programme on TV this week that I realised what had happened. I would love to see a follow up to find how all the children fared when they went to Secondary schools

  9. I totally agree with everyone who says the flats should stay Iam a father of three and need a large house/flat and as we all know they are few and far between in Glasgow and the wait is ridiculous I have stayed in high flats all my life and never had any bother i prefer to be up high away from yobs and idiots that stand outside our close/house all night drinking its great to be around many different cultures as well the flats at pinkston are huge family homes money should be spent to keep them so families have a decent size home for themselves not moving everyone out into cheaply built dumps that will look worse in the next 10 years Iam sure many people with 2 or more kids would jumpat the chance to get a big flat there so their kids can at least have their own room if money was spent on improvments its a good location plenty of public transport and shops GHA should get real where are they going to put everyone comimg out of the blocks? I bet my kids are my age and there still standing all this demolishon in the next 5 years is nonsense fix em up and improve the community.

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