Save our Shawlands!

MORE than 100 people joined together in a public meeting to discuss the future of Shawlands.

Andrew Montgomery, chair of Shawlands and Strathbungo community council believes the message of the meeting was clear.

“People are fed up. The town is slowly declining,” he said, “there is a feeling that nothing can be done.

“It’s dirty and businesses — especially takeaway food outlets — need to take more responsibility.

“We welcome the action plan but it’s pointless if Glasgow city council don’t follow through.

“We have waited four years since the plan was originally mooted, with nothing being done. The community has reached the limit of its patience and the community council will continue to push till something is done”.

Local councillor David Meikle congratulated the community council on the meeting.

He told The Extra: “I was delighted to go along to the meeting and hear from people what concerns they had with the town centre.

“I also congratulate the council for finally publishing the Shawlands town centre action plan. I hope that out of the action plan we have concrete proposals and funding secured to make improvements to Shawlands.

“I welcome the tentative progress we are making in Shawlands . For example, the establishment of the Business Association, the news that Sainsburys is to reopen and the new CCTV cameras”

Councillor Archie Graham confirmed council workers are currently working on “finalising the action plan and setting up the strategic partnership”.

However, despite much criticism of Shawlands, Barry Young, owner of Young’s Interesting Books, thinks Shawlands “isn’t as bad as people make it out to be”.

The 50-year-old member of the Shawlands business association believes the onus of responsibility lies on the community.

He told The Extra: “It’s common sense that if people shop local, they will get better shops. There are plenty of retailers in Shawlands who offer a unique experience, different to that of Silverburn or Braehead.

“Shawlands Arcade is a huge problem but it’s one we’ll have to live with while the country is in an economic downturn.

“Litter is a challenge but it’s one the community can help with”.

In an attempt to deal with one of Shawlands’ problems head on, the business association is set to launch a “one small thing” initiative.

This would encourage local people to help out in any way they can — be it sweeping outside, trimming a hedge or paintwork.

Mr Young added: “People can either sit back and complain or take pride in their community.

“There is a community spirit in Shawlands already, a lot of people care about the town”.

The action plan is intended to ensure Shawlands becomes a more desirable place to live and invest.

It recommends a number of improvements to public spaces and buildings.