Sturgeon’s constituency “biggest slum in Scotland”

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Community activists say Govanhill's problems aren't being addressed 

30th January 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Campaigners trying to clean up Govanhill say investment isn’t helping to improve the community.

For the last five years activists have been trying to tackle crime, get the area cleaned up and increase policing in the area which is home to first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s constituency office for Glasgow Southside.

Members of Govanhill Community Campaign said they were getting nowhere despite continually campaigning to get the area cleaned up.

The situation has got so bad campaigners Liz Crosbie and Frances Stojilkovic had an emergency meeting with Sturgeon on Friday to voice their concerns.

Crosbie said: “I see the place getting 10 times worse. They say they are trying all different strategies and putting as much as they can in.

“It’s a question of ‘Are they going to follow through on it?’ but I don’t know.”

Govanhill is home to Scotland’s largest multi-ethnic communities and has a large population of Asians, eastern Europeans as well as an estimated 3,500 Roma people.  

However the authorities have come under consistent criticism for failing to meet the needs of such a diverse community.

Iliya Shterev and Abdul Dean of the Roma Society Scotland, said: “It’s about inclusion. If you say to people, ‘You are welcome to this country to live,’ it’s our responsibility to educate as to what is expected. For a start, there are not enough school places.”

Mags Grant, who has organised marches to highlight the plight of the area, said the first minister should be “embarrassed” for residing over what she called “Scotland’s biggest slum”.

“A lot of good work is being done but not enough I’m afraid. The council has failed to make this area safe or even habitable for locals and many who have lived here all their lives are moving out.

“Nicola Sturgeon should be embarrassed that her constituency is the biggest slum in Scotland though she doesn’t seem to be. Each day we hear about her achievements yet you hear very little about the rat-infested constituency she represents. It’s become a crisis, a community that has been left behind by politicians. Who just don’t care.”   

However councillor Soryia Siddique, Executive Member for Communities at Glasgow City Council, says the city council did treat Govanhill’s issues as a priority.

She said: “To give things perspective, Govanhill is the only Enhanced Enforcement Area (EEA) in Scotland.

“The council needs to go through a very prescriptive process to gain EEA status for them to have the powers to deal with rogue landlords.

“I don’t believe the process should be prescriptive, the council should have these powers anyway, so we need Scottish Government support.”

“The problem is overcrowding but the situation has improved in that 140 properties have been bought over by Govanhill Housing Association.

“Govanhill gets the biggest response, it has bespoke, unique services. There’s not a quick fix and it’s not a short term problem.

“People in Govanhill have seen better days but the solutions are about a partnership between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council.”

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