Since 1993, the North Kelvin Meadow has been a community space in the heart of Glasgow. It is a wood in which children play; a haven of biodiversity; a chance for local people to cultivate the sort of greenery that doesn’t often exist in the middle of urban settlements. Encompassing allotments, one of the largest orchid sites in Glasgow, an area nicknamed the Children’s Wood and up to 500 trees (as well as grasses and shrubs), it is a unique chance for the community to work together to create a green space to benefit the people of Glasgow.
Despite this, its status is currently threatened: Glasgow City Council is planning to sell the land off to New City Vision Ltd, with the aim of building 90 residences in the Meadow’s place. As yet the future of the site is uncertain, pending a site visit, a decision that was reached after a meeting of city councillors on October 20th in which supporters of the Meadow staged a mass demonstration in George Square. The North Kelvin Meadow group assert on their website that the proposed sale runs blatantly counter to the Council’s own intended aims, noting that the City Plan purposes to protect existing biodiversity and to integrate natural spaces into the city in order to promote sustainability and improve quality of life. Indeed, the Glasgow Open Space Strategy’s designation of Glasgow as the ‘Dear Green Place’ directly contradicts the action the Council is planning to take. Additionally, the group has commented on inaccuracies in the planning application, notably the omission of the fact that the Meadow is part of the West End Conservation Zone, which should, in theory, shelter it from destruction
Community enterprises such as the Meadow should be prized for the way in which they prioritise nature in urban areas and encourage residents to get involved. Even more valuable is their role in integrating children into woodland spaces, an activity which could greatly help in making younger generations aware of increasingly important issues surrounding the environment. It can only be hoped that Glasgow City Council also recognise the intrinsic worth of the initiative.