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Old August 5th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #1
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Glasgow | Govanhill / Vicky Road | News & Developments

I was in Govanhill the other day and I can't believe what has happened to this area. It's a real shame what was a pretty decent place to live now feels dangerous.

I think we need to ask 3 questions:

1) Is it sustainable to let the area become a Roma ghetto? Surely having 20 people in a 2 bed tenement is not good for anyone - not least the poor children.

2) What can be done to intervene earlier in situations like this when there are scumbag landlords. Each flat will now cost £80,000 to bring up to standard. I'm worried the only economically sound decision that can be made will be to demolish the lovely old tenements.

3) What mechanism can be used to integrate the Roma into Glasgow life. From the evening times articles this week it appears that they can't claim benefits or other services. How are they funding themselves? Unfortunately I know for a fact how in some cases, but I won't tar all with the same brush as I simply don't know the full truth. Govanhill has served an important role in Glasgow as a starting point for immigrant communities with the Irish and Pakistani's going on to thrive - I can't see this happening with this particular community as there seems to be no desire to form part of the larger community. It also really irritates me when people throw rubbish out the window into the back close which I gather happens on a widespread basis. I think this unfortunately spells a slow death for the area.

Anyone got any more first hand experience here?
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Old August 5th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #2
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Can I just add that I'm not down on these people - they have had a difficult, and at times appalling, history - no culture should be criticised unduly.....I'm just talking on a practical sense - how can we save this part of Glasgow from going down the tube?
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Old August 5th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #3
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Govanhill / Vicky Road

I've lived in Govanhill on and off for some 30 odd years.
It has always had slum type dwellings - all in the same streets we have problems today.

All that has happened from my perspective is housing in bad condition has have a couple of decades to deteriorate. The landlords are complete chancers.

Alison Street had several Jewish delis well into the early 1980;s, although on their last legs as most of the Jewish community moved onwards.
Alison Street was also home to an excellent sci-fi bookshop long since gone.

Kosher has been replaced with Halal and dozens of eager new businesses have (and continue) to open in great rapidity.

New immigrant families looking for cheap easy to enter housing and copious students. Easy pickings for an unscrupulous landlord. If you also add in a sizeable number of social misfits - drink and drug abusers you have a nasty cocktail.
All transitory by their nature. Students eventually finish and move on - as do some immigrants. Drunks and junkies pretty mush stay where they are.

Violence and sexual assaults are sadly a common occurrence here.

I have a friend who lives on Bowman Street - sight of the vicious rape reported a couple of days ago http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk:80/new...deal-1.1046089

He is extremely distressed - and is planning to move as soon as possible.
This will be the third very serious event that has happened near his home in a few months.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:03 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear about your friend - pretty sad to be forced out of your home in such a way.

It was actually Allison Street I was on that felt dodgy - probably the first time in about 5 years I've actually felt unsafe in Glasgow. Wouldn't recommend going up there at night to anyone!

I would still say the problem is noticeably worse than when I spent more time there about 10-15 years ago. I can't understand the whole litter/fly tipping thing - I find it a disrespectful for guests of a city to treat it that way - I wouldn't have dreamt of doing that when I lived abroad. Its bad enough with the neds dropping litter in town as it is...

Here's hoping the Roma find some way of integrating with Glaswegians. Its a two way thing - if they adapt slightly to the local culture they will find people friendly and warm. If not then Glaswegians will probably say 'why bother making an effort'
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:06 PM   #5
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I lived in Govanhill, in a top-floor tenement flat on Langside Road near the corner with Allison Street, between 2005 and 2007. Several Roma families moved in next door about six months after we moved in. The main tenant was actually quite an amiable guy, with a good grasp of English and a job picking up litter for the council. The sub-tenants were usually a transient mix of thugs and thieves (and I could write 10,000 words covering all of the separate incidents, but I'll spare this forum the details). The only reason I managed to sell the flat was by doing it in the depths of winter when it was too cold for on-street drinking/fighting and back-court shagging. Even then, I had to hope that prospective buyers wouldn't encounter a passed-out corpse on the close stairs. One couple did, and then managed to view the entire flat in roughly 30 seconds without leaving the entrance hall.

Besides the main tenant next door, I met a few people in the Roma community who were genuinely trying to make a better life for themselves. From what I gathered, most of them had come from just a handful of villages in the same region. Unfortunately, the old family grudges followed, and the same gangmasters who used to run the show in those villages apparently turned up in Govanhill too. In that environment, there's probably no way for anyone to succeed without immediately being dragged back down.

I remember being in regular contact with our building factors, with the council and with the police. The factors weren't interested in the state of the close. The council weren't interested in the evidence of fly-tipping in the back court or on the street, leading to rat and cockroach infestations. The police weren't interested in the regular late-night party-riots that occurred next door, when it was only time to go home once someone had been glassed or stabbed on the landing. (The regular police tactic was to do a slow drive-by of the close entrance, see that nothing was going on - since the trouble was up on the top floor - and then drive off. A further call to the station would then elicit the response "we witnessed no activity at the address".).

At that time, the authorities evidently didn't understand - or care - how serious and widespread the problems were in Govanhill. The Evening Times ran the headline, "Save Our Streets" in early 2006 after a mini-riot on Allison Street, but the article claimed the problem was rooted in the Asian community attacking the Roma community. In reality, the factions within the Roma community determined to knock seven shades of shit out of each other were a far more pressing problem.

I haven't been back in Govanhill since I moved out, other than to walk along Allison Street in the early hours after the U2 gig last year (it looked more or less the same as I remembered it, apart from a new 'Community Notice Board' opposite the San Wah takeaway).

The authorities have a lot of work to do. If they continue to procrastinate, they'll just have exponentially more work to do later.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:47 PM   #6
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Thats a pretty horrific experience. I bet you couldn't believe your luck when you managed to shift your flat (any pangs of guilt?)

Its a bit of a pain in the arse that Glasgow is having to shoulder the burden for this. It seems destined for problems if a concentrated number of people from a few towns have moved en masse to a new location. I think this may lead to more insularity and, as you say, the problems travel over here!

If it's still as bad as it was when you were there, I hope the police crack down. The softly softly approach doesn't seem to be working and the litter/antisocial behaviour can't be put down as a cultural misunderstanding - if it a particular culture to throw rubbish anywhere (which it may well be) then it must be adapted for dense city living . People are having to leave the area because of this and that's not fair!

It's good having areas like Govanhill that can act as a front door for newcomers to the city, but we need to ensure its kept up to scratch. To be honest, I wanted to move to Queens Park for my next move, but I don't think I will now as I don't think its safe for my girlfriend to be walking about herself.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Jim Miller, from Govanhill, told the Sunday Herald how he stumbled upon a child being forced into prostitution on Allison Street, one of Govanhill's main thoroughfares. Miller has already given a statement to the police.

"Roughly two months ago," said Miller, "I was out walking my dog at about 10.15 in the morning. The dog ran into a close which was filled with rubbish, bin bags and old bedding.

"It was dark, and as I walked through the close I saw a man with his trousers around his ankles having full sex with a young Roma girl who was about nine or ten. The man had made the girl stand on a car battery in order to have sex with her.

"The guy just looked at me," said Miller. "I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The wee lassie looked totally bewildered."

Miller says he hurriedly left the close in order to get the police and spotted a Roma man waiting outside. At the same time the man he had seen having sex walked out of the close, as did the young girl. The Roma man, waiting outside, took the little girl by the hand and got into a nearby car, with a third man at the steering wheel, and drove away. Miller said he noticed that the girl walked with a limp.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/the-ch...tland-1.827784
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Old August 6th, 2010, 03:22 PM   #8
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ET have been running a feature on the areas demise all week, a video on todays feature lets you take in insight to what the area has become over the past few years.

Not a good image for Glasgow i must say.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 02:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Thats a pretty horrific experience. I bet you couldn't believe your luck when you managed to shift your flat (any pangs of guilt?)
I actually sold the flat within six days of it going on the market - which was probably something of a miracle. There were about three or four viewings per night. Follow-ups by the estate agent revealed that almost everyone loved the flat, but didn't like the area.

The first people to put in an offer were an Asian family who indicated they'd buy the place to live in, but who were evidently going to rent it out instead. While one of them was trying to convince me that the small cracks in the living room cornicing were evidence that my ceiling was about to cave in and they'd be doing me a favour by taking the place off my hands, I could hear the other two in the hall talking about how it would be easy to put locks on all of the internal doors. While I was keen to get rid of the place, I had a duty to the rest of the neighbours in the close to ensure - as far as I possibly could - that they wouldn't be subjected to another house full of transients. So I turned down this family's offer (a decision made easier by the fact it was derisory).

I eventually sold the place to a guy who already lived locally and was evidently aware of the area's problems - but was still keen to buy the flat. There was obviously no guarantee that he wasn't aiming to rent the place out eventually, but he seemed a good pick. I bumped into one of my old neighbours in the city a few months later and asked if they'd met the new guy, and they said they see him most days - so at least he was actually living there.

Quote:
I would still say the problem is noticeably worse than when I spent more time there about 10-15 years ago. I can't understand the whole litter/fly tipping thing - I find it a disrespectful for guests of a city to treat it that way - I wouldn't have dreamt of doing that when I lived abroad. Its bad enough with the neds dropping litter in town as it is...
For people trying to stay below the radar, chucking soiled nappies out of windows is a good way to draw unwanted attention. I never understood it. Hell, I remember seeing a wardrobe being thrown out of a top-floor window down into the back-court, destroying someone's satellite dish on the way down!

Quote:
It's good having areas like Govanhill that can act as a front door for newcomers to the city, but we need to ensure its kept up to scratch. To be honest, I wanted to move to Queens Park for my next move, but I don't think I will now as I don't think its safe for my girlfriend to be walking about herself.
It's a shame. Govanhill and Queen's Park both have a grand architectural landscape, but the council's now got the biggest clean-up job in its recent history because it chose to ignore this problem for so long. Closing the junkie-ridden hostels in Queen's Park was a good move, though.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 04:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glasgow 2097 View Post
Closing the junkie-ridden hostels in Queen's Park was a good move, though.
Where did all the junkies go then?
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Old August 8th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #11
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Ally McKever's but 'n' ben, I hope.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 02:36 PM   #12
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A wee plug for the Govanhill Baths Community Trust.

I'm still hopeful this building can be brought back into use, though the city's ninja-like pyromaniacs will be an ever-present threat while it remains derelict.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 11:21 AM   #13
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annette street!

I remember visiting my family on annette street when i was younger and being allowed go out by myself. I lived there for a few months not too long ago and walking anywhere was scary. There was a raid twice while i was there. One time a few people broke into a unoccupied house. There was children going into our close and making a huge noise and shouting. They made a hole in the close wall.

Wasnt there a park made where the clada club used to be? It was always locked though so that was pathetic. Police and the council need to step up there game. Its about time!! They cannot be scared if they want to do there job properly.


Annette street wad crazy with people throwing stuff out the windows to the binmen refusing to pick up the bins. Spmething needs to be done because govanhill is going to keep spiraling downwards if nothings done.
I like govanhill i would love it if it wasnt so scary.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 03:49 PM   #14
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Regenerating Govanhill.doc Report Public

Regenerating Govanhill - Proposed Short Life Taskforce


Purpose of Report:

To seek Committee approval for the establishment of a short life taskforce to oversee the
preparation of a regeneration plan for Govanhill.
Recommendations:
It is recommended that the Committee:

a) Approves the proposed establishment of a Govanhill Regeneration Taskforce, as
detailed in the report;
b) Nominates Councillor Anne Marie Millar to chair the Taskforce;
c) Invites all local ward members to participate in the Taskforce;
d) Notes that the Taskforce will report back to Committee in February 2011.



1. BACKGROUND
1.1 Committee will be aware that Govanhill is experiencing a complex range of social and
economic challenges which are reflected in the areas “score” on the 2010 Scottish Index of
Multiple Deprivation.
1.2 The Council and other agencies have already taken a number of positive steps to address
these challenges, in areas such as:

a) Housing Improvement and Development;
b) Employability;
c) Public Environment and Cleansing; and
d) Racial Equality.
e) Education
f) Community Safety


1.3 The early indications are that while some progress is being made it is insufficient and that a
more concentrated effort is now required to address the issues facing the area through
closer inter-agency working, increased effort, and greater co-ordination of effort.
1.4 It is proposed therefore to establish a Multi Agency Taskforce chaired by Councillor Anne
Marie Millar with representation from the Council services, Govanhill Housing Association,
the South West CHCP, the South East Regeneration Agency and any other appropriate
local agencies. The work of the taskforce would be led by the Economic and Social
Initiative unit in DRS who would have overall responsibility for establishing the working
arrangement of the taskforce, preparing appropriate papers for consideration by the
taskforce, and producing the final report on behalf of the taskforce.
1.5 In addition to Councillor Millar chairing the taskforce, political representation would extend
to the other elected members covering Govanhill, the local MSP and the local MP.
Community representation would be sought through the local community planning
structures.
1.6 In order to ensure the work of the taskforce remains focused it is proposed that it sets itself
a target of producing a final report before the end of February 2011.
SERVICE IMPLICATIONS
Financial: None at this stage.
Legal: None.
Personnel: DRS will manage this initiative.
Environmental: None.
Service Plan: The project is in line with the DRS Service Plan priority actions on local
regeneration.
Development and Regeneration Services
SI (223/10)
20August 2010
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Old August 24th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #15
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ET
Pool campaigners to spend £2m on community centre


24 Aug 2010

Plans to revamp an Edwardian swimming baths have taken a step forward.

Govanhill Community Baths Trust has spent the past nine years attempting to raise £12.5 million to turn the long-closed pool into a community centre.
But the current financial climate has caused the campaign to founder – and bosses have had to pare back their plans.
Now the group will refurbish the baths in two phases, with the first costing £1m to £2m.
The trust hopes it will finally be able to reach its goal of creating a centre which will be of benefit to the local Govanhill community.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #16
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Why not turn it into a pool instead?
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Old August 25th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #17
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As long as they do something before any mysterious fire-related incidents take place I think this is positive
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Old August 25th, 2010, 04:15 PM   #18
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Aye, but a pool would be better. I could run to Govanhill in 15 mins for a swim.
As it is my best option is probably all the way at the Gorbals, which is a pain in the tits and just too for for after work.

There's a pool at Holyrood School that is open to the public three days a week. The open hours are:
Thursday - Ladies only* - 17:30-20:30
Friday - Mixed session - 17:30-20:30
Saturday - Mixed session - 09:30-11:30

so 33% of the time, and on the night I'd find most convenient, the pool is famale only.

Can anyone explain why this is remotely fair?
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Old August 25th, 2010, 05:25 PM   #19
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Aye, but a pool would be better. I could run to Govanhill in 15 mins for a swim.
As it is my best option is probably all the way at the Gorbals, which is a pain in the tits and just too for for after work.

There's a pool at Holyrood School that is open to the public three days a week. The open hours are:
Thursday - Ladies only* - 17:30-20:30
Friday - Mixed session - 17:30-20:30
Saturday - Mixed session - 09:30-11:30

so 33% of the time, and on the night I'd find most convenient, the pool is famale only.

Can anyone explain why this is remotely fair?
Yeah, its a strange one isn't it. I think I've noticed this at other pools too. I would guess its an attempt to cater to muslim women - perhaps it would be considered indecent among more conservative muslims for their women to swim where a male non-spouse might spot them? Could it also be a body image thing, to encourage self-conscious fat chicks into the pool?

Of course, we then ask why no male-only nights? I think this happens in certain pools in London and it basically becomes a very wet gay bar for the evening.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #20
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Yeah, its a strange one isn't it. I think I've noticed this at other pools too. I would guess its an attempt to cater to muslim women - perhaps it would be considered indecent among more conservative muslims for their women to swim where a male non-spouse might spot them? Could it also be a body image thing, to encourage self-conscious fat chicks into the pool?

Of course, we then ask why no male-only nights? I think this happens in certain pools in London and it basically becomes a very wet gay bar for the evening.
The Muslin thing annoys me on two counts (and bear in mind I speak as a devoted wooly-minded liberal).

Firstly, I believe in total seperation of church and state. I don't want a penny of my tax to go to encouraging whatever mental conceits others' choose to believe in. If someone makes the choice to follow a religion, they shouldn't expect me to bankroll it.
I respect their right to believe whatever they want, but I don't respect any of the beliefs themselves, and that's a distinction that all too often isn't made.
Secondly, in practical terms it doesn't work anyway. Councils (including Glasgow) clearly stipulate that there is as likely to be male lifeguards as female. That's what they can offer, so it's what folk get. If it's fine for a lifeguard to see some woman, it's fine for me too.

If it's a body image thing I'll be livid. I get a bit embarrassed with most of my kit off sometimes; mostly everyone does. If my taxes are being funnelled into some anti-male enterprise to pander to porcine women, I'll go spare.

Everyone is as good and bad as each other - I wouldn't "balance things out" with male-only nights, I believe segregation of any kind is to be challenged.

It's appalling and indefensible that this pool is open on only three days, and for a third of the time one in every two taxpayers is barred from using it.
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