The fight for our cities vacant land

Across Scotland, we have seen over 66 000 public homes being demolished, leaving large vacant land sites like gapping holes throughout our communities. Despite the housing crisis that Scotland faces, neighbourhood branch after branch sees these plots being prioritised for buy-to-let and luxury developments, in an ongoing attempt by city planners to 'mix' our communities, bringing in more expensive housing instead of the genuinely affordable homes we need.

This is why across Glasgow, members are rising up to fight for this land to be prioritised for social and public housing, built to the highest environmental standards and reflecting our needs and vision.


Members have taken up five fights across Glasgow. Living Rent members are directly challenging socially and environmentally-damaging developments at Beith Street, Collina Street, Ruchill Hospital, Water Row and Shawbridge Street.

We believe that Glasgow can either be a leading example of restorative justice, building high-quality public or social housing that meets the highest environmental standards. Or it can continue to greenlight massive for-profit developments dominated by build-to-let complexes, purpose built student accommodation, gated private communities and luxury hotels.

Up in the Wyndford, members are fight for Collina Street - known locally as The Valley, a site from which houses were cleared in the 2000s and which is now ear-marked for exclusevily private housing. Without any consultation Glasgow City Council planned to sell Collina Street off to property developers on Friday 15th January to build 100% private houses. Members stopped this, holding their own community consultation, inviting local representatives to hear from residents and are now occupying the land until residents can put forward their own vision of the site. Listen to our member Norman Cunningham in the Source speaking about this vision and why it matters:

"We have developed our own vision and solutions for how this highly visible and desirable piece of real estate could be used to provide a world-class showcase for a sustainable, environmentally friendly community housing development. It would utilise 21st century technologies in building materials and district heating systems and incorporating community enterprises to provide local training and employment opportunities for our people.

The site of this land, bounded by Maryhill Locks and the River Kelvin, makes it a realistic possibility for our exciting and ambitious plans – not just more houses, but a real community showcase of excellence for the future.
Something important I need to convey about what we want to create at Collina St is a thriving sustainable community and not just houses. So the enterprises that we create will provide work and training for the people who live there and provide purpose in the present and hope for their kids.

I think middle class people raised in private houses in leafy suburbs do not understand ‘community’ as experienced by people living in deprived circumstances. The solutions they propose are based around material things like housing and jobs, wherever they may be. Our plan is for greenhouse horticulture to be integrated into the design of the new community, with heating coming free from the return side of the district heating system. We could be growing tomatoes, capsicums etc, supplying food at source to locals and our shop and cafe which will be set up alongside the canal to fit in with that regeneration project. Maybe even bananas in Maryhill in winter!

This will create jobs, training, pride and all the other intangibles that arise from community. I have lots of information about the feasibility of this and will be happy to share. This is the main point I need to communicate. Building not just houses but community. The council showed how good they were at demolition which killed communities, bloody useless at rebuilding them."

Maryhill residents have developed their own solutions for how this highly visible and desirable piece of real estate could be used to provide a unique, world-class showcase for a sustainable, eco-friendly community Passivhaus development utilising 21st century technologies in building materials and district heating systems and incorporating community enterprises to provide local training and sustainable employment opportunities for our people.

It would be zero cost to the council to postpone the sale and listen to us. And we are occupying the site until they do.

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The cabin that we have built on site.

See the petition: https://www.livingrent.org/halt_the_sale_of_collina_street?fbclid=IwAR2TLBDRIeB0Sl44VXi31TezlBxWBhTeOz7tAfnyw0eNOuzTnA04tpN_Qhk
Read more in the press:
https://www.thealternative.org.uk/dailyalternative/2021/1/23/maryhill-eco-development?fbclid=IwAR1vFHHdN0AaVZK3hMBrjN_kGVWLzEth3-5bVPpz6CXcz5_fial7NRVWpU0
Watch our members talking about this:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=196592765484387

May be an image of outdoors and text that says 'VACANT LAND SHOULD BE PRIORITISED FOR PUBLIC HOUSING 00 T JOIN THE CAMPAIGN LIVING RENT FOR A TOWER OF JUSTICE'

Ruchill hospital

Members from Maryhill to Hamilton hill and Ruchill are organising against the plans by Bellway homes to turn the former Ruchill hospital site into a gated housing project, disconnected from the neighbourhood and hiking up rents locally.

Ruchill hospital was opened in 1900 and closed in 1998. Most of its buildings were destroyed in 2012 and Bellway submitted an application

Bellway Homes has submitted a planning application to build more than 400 homes on the former Ruchill Hospital site, homes which have been dubbed "how not to do urban regeneration". These homes are only for private ownership, with more than 1 parking space per home, only 11 people 'consulted' by Bellway and "identikit" homes just below the site's A-listed water tower.

This is an area where 64% of households in surrounding communities are without a car and where public housing is direly needed.

See what we are doing here:
https://www.facebook.com/towerofjusticeruchill

Watch our demands here:
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=775516773377509


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Beith street


Beith Street lies south of Byres Road in Glasgow’s Hillhead, across Dumbarton Road and into Partick. The vacant site formerly comprised the Partick Central Railway Station, a scrapyard and an occasional showground site. The section of Beith street under development already comprises two large-scale student housing blocks and plans are in place for a contentious 424 private home ‘Built to Rent’ development on the remaining gap site. This would represent a total of 1876 private residential beds in the short stretch between the West Village student blocks, just below Byres Road, and the Vita Student block, just south of Morrisons supermarket in Partick. Besides the alienated and disconnected ‘communities’ that temporary private rental accommodation generates, this is a massive over-concentration of private rented units in a G11 postcode area with average private sector rents for a 2-bedroom flat home at £874 per month, one of the highest averages in the city where overall rents have risen by 40% in the last ten years.

There is very limited space for housing development in Partick which is not already undergoing construction or which has not already gained planning consent. Beith Street forms part of the little remaining land available for housing development. This is why Partick members are demanding that Beith street be earmarked for social or public housing development that genuinely addresses the ongoing social housing crisis in Glasgow, instead of yet again another private development that speaks to national and international corporate landlords' interests.

Members are speaking to residents locally about this, and keen to meet to talk about how to collectively tackle this threatening development once restrictions ease.