Disappointment as Glasgow Council refuses to meet young skaters



Scottish National Party MSP, John Mason, is demanding answers from senior Council officials who refused to attend a pre-arranged meeting with local skaters with just four hours notice.

The promise of officers attending was broken following a letter from a local Labour Councillor, Jim Coleman, who rubbished the meeting and also suggested that Council officials should not attend the meeting, which was actually originally suggested by Glasgow City Council officers themselves. 

A council official contacted Mr Mason’s office at 12 noon Wednesday to cancel the meeting, which was due to take place at 4pm that same day.

The purpose of the meeting was to listen to young people in the area and to hear what skatepark facilities they wanted.  No reason was given as to why Council officers should not listen to the youngsters.

John Mason, the local MSP, commented:

“This is very disappointing to let the young people down in this way.  One of them had had to take time off his work in order to attend.  After corresponding with the Council’s Land & Environmental Services Department, I took up their suggestion to host a meeting between Council officials and the skatepark users to discuss future plans (with elected members also invited to attend). 

“Arrangements for this had been on-going for a number of months and to refuse to attend with just four hours notice, following Councillor Coleman’s letter, is frankly unacceptable and raises serious questions about political interference in Land & Environmental Services.  I want to know who told officers not to attend, who was involved in the decision and why this was taken with just four hours notice.

“I deliberately invited all local politicians to this meeting as it is not a party-political issue and I am very disappointed that Council officers did not attend as promised.  I have written to the Director of LES to ask for an explanation.

“The meeting did go ahead with five users of the skatepark, Councillor Austin Sheridan and myself.  We listened to the users concerns and their desire for the facility to be upgraded or replaced. I will now be passing these notes on to Land and Environmental Services for their comments.

“This does raise major questions about the Council’s approach to business.  All of this comes just after former Labour MSP, Tom McCabe’s appointment as a senior policy officer in the same department on a salary of almost £50,000 a year. 

“Serious questions have to be asked about political neutrality of Council officials.”