Wednesday 21 January 2009

School and nursery closures

I was out of the office at meetings for much of yesterday, so it was early evening when I was finally able to read through the proposals from the Labour administration to close a number of schools and nurseries in the city. First off, I think calling it a "modernisation strategy" when it is in fact a series of closures is more than a bit disingenuous. Secondly, I'm a wee bit suspicious as to why the news was released yesterday - while the world had eyes only for Obama. It was a very late addition to the Executive Committee papers (not going first to the Education and Social Work committee) which got sent in error to all Councillors in draft form last week.

There are a couple of nurseries and a Primary school in my ward which are set to close, and I'm really not comfortable with the proposal. The head teachers and staff in these establishments do a great job, and these schools and nurseries are hugely valued by their communities. It's true there are lot of savings to be made from the closures, but there's more than the bottom line at stake. I intend to meet soon with staff from the affected establishments and will keep the blog updated.

Monday 19 January 2009

FBU Public Meeting

The Fire Brigades Union Public Meeting tonight on the proposed closure of Parkhead Fire Station was lively and well attended. There were meaningful, heartfelt contributions from the floor, both by fire fighters and members of the public. The FBU got to make the presentation that was denied to members of the Fire Board by the Labour Chair, and the public and elected members got to hear the other side of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue's proposals.

Ken Ross, the Regional Secretary for Scotland of the FBU gave a very informative presentation busting the myths and half truths being sold to locals as part of the consultation. The constituents I spoke to afterwards were very grateful to have had the counter-presentation., which really just highlights how things were being spun. The FBU website has a lot of information on this, but the basic points are as follows;

- the number of fire fighters at the new Cambuslang station (which will replace Parkhead and Cambuslang) will be around thirty fewer
- there will be one fewer fire appliance
- response times will increase
- fewer fire fighters means that fewer home fire safety visits can be carried out.

All this when there will be significant developments going on in the east end.

I personally delivered a survey to Parkhead residents to ask people why Parkhead Fire Station mattered to them. I spent a most of my day today going through the responses which had arrived. I wasn't surprised to hear that people wanted to save their local fire station, but I was taken aback by the stories they had written about the impact of fire on their lives. For several the fire wasn't even in their own home, but that of a neighbour. If fire crews had taken just a few minutes longer, several families would have been trapped and lost their lives. For others, the simple reassurance of having the service there for when they need it is invaluable.

Neither the people of Parkhead, nor fire fighters can see the logic of this closure. I'm with them. The closure of Parkhead Fire Station is a bad deal for the people of the East End and I will do what I can to make their voices heard.

Sunday 18 January 2009


It's been a few months now since Joe and I got married, and I thought I'd stick up here my thanks to all the lovely people who gave us gifts. Some people were also equally generous with money and gift vouchers - and in December we finally settled on a display unit from John Lewis to keep things nice and safe. Thanks again folks!

Public Meeting for Parkhead Fire Station Closure



Immediate Release

Saturday 17th January 2009

Fire Brigades Union Public Meeting on

Proposed Closure of Parkhead Fire Station

The Fire Brigades Union is holding a PUBLIC MEETING at the FULLERTON PARK HOTEL, Tollcross Rd, Glasgow on Monday 19th January 2009 at 1830hrs.

The meeting has been arranged in order for the Union to outline its opposition to the proposals by Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service management to close Parkhead Fire Station.

Members of the Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service Board, as well as MPs, MSPs, Councillors, Community Councils & Residents in the Communities covered by Parkhead & Cambuslang Fire Stations, have all been invited to the meeting.

The Public Consultation on the proposals ends on the 24th January 2009. The matter will then be discussed and decided upon by the Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Board on 13th February 2009.

John McFadden, Brigade Treasurer & Campaign Coordinator for the Strathclyde Fire Brigades Union said “There is overwhelming evidence that shows that Parkhead Fire Station must be retained. It is the busiest single appliance Fire Station in Scotland and covers some of the poorest & most needy Communities in the UK.

“The Communities continue to record some of the highest fatality & casualty rates in Scotland. It is clear that those Communities need their Fire Station.

“The proposed closure of the station defies all logic. To remove the station and serve these Communities from a Fire Station further away, will only serve to INCREASE RESPONSE TIMES and INCREASE FATALITY & CASUALTY RATES.

“We hope that the members of the Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service Board will recognise this, reject management’s proposals and concentrate on refurbishing Parkhead Fire Station for the 21st Century.


For Further Information Contact:

John McFadden Strathclyde Brigade Treasurer Mobile: 07801-047-612

Campaign Coordinator

Alex Miller Strathclyde Brigade Secretary Mobile: 07890-630-988


Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service managers state that the new proposed Fire Station in Cambuslang will be able to attend incident to Communities currently served by Parkhead Fire Station in 8 minutes.

The average Response Time currently achieved by appliances from Parkhead Fire Station is 3 minutes 34 seconds.

The Communities covered by Parkhead Fire Station are growing. Over the coming 5 years, it is projected that there will be:

  • 10,000 New Homes;
  • 25,000 New Residents;
  • Over 400,000 square feet of Commercial Property;
  • A Multitude of Leisure & Community Facilities, due to the Commonwealth Games; and
  • The Extension of the M74 Motorway.

Current Special Life Risks include such premises as:

  • Celtic Park Football Stadium;
  • Barlinnie Prison;
  • 3 Hospitals;
  • 11 Care Homes;
  • 11 Multi-Storey Flats;
  • 1 Major Bus Depot;
  • 15 Primary Schools;
  • 4 Secondary Schools; &
  • 13 Nursery Schools.