East End Eye 4

East End Eye Issue 4 front cover, Spring 2012

4th issue of Glasgow Games Monitor's occasional freesheet, published Spring 2012.

Whose Legacy in Dalmarnock?
The problems with ‘regeneration’ through mega-events
‘Legacy’ is the government buzz- word of sporting mega-events. The competitive tendering process involves producing a ‘legacy document’ and cities now compete against each other to claim what fantastic legacy benefits will arise from hosting Games events. The idea is that at least some of the hundreds of millions that get spent on hosting a Games event should go towards, “a lasting social, economic and sporting legacy”. But remember Thatcher’s idea of ‘”trickle-down”? No need to worry if city financiers and speculators are making millions, because it will all ‘trickle-down’ to the rest of the population, she said. We know it didn’t happen then, and it won’t happen now.
The Glasgow 2014 Games organizers admit on their website that previous Commonwealth Games events have failed to achieve their legacy claims, but that Glasgow will be different. We beg to differ. From the evidence we’ve gathered in this Dalmarnock special issue, patronage and cronyism towards businessmen and developers, and shocking mistreatment of local residents is the ‘legacy’ of the Games so far. The Jaconelli family in Dalmarnock have been evicted from their home and remain homeless and without compensation. The shopkeepers in the area have been displaced without compensation.
Meanwhile, the disabled groups and carers of the Accord Centre are being moved to make way for a car park, without adequate re- placement for their service. To add insult to injury, crony develop- ers in the area have been making millions in speculative land deals just across the road. We carry the real story of Dalmarnock inside. The only way a better deal can be made for local residents is to fight and campaign for it. The Jaconelli family and the Save the Accord group are setting an example in the East End and beyond. This is an issue about the Commonwealth Games 2014, but it is also an issue about the wider austerity cuts - the most violent attack on the condi- tions of the poor in decades.
Left alone, the Games will always be more about big business than local people; crony politics rather than grassroots democracy; and land deals rather than school meals. The residents of Dalmarnock, however, carry the ‘threat of a good example’ – we should follow them all the way.

Eviction in Dalmarnock: The Real Story
It is a year ago now that Glasgow City Council ‘cleared’ the area around Springfield Road and Ardenlea Street in Dalmarnock for Games developers. The shop owners along Springfield Road – the general store, post office and pharmacy, and the chippy – have all been forced out by the Council’s strategy. Only Burns Pharmacy remains, setting up around the corner, with little assistance from Council. Others have lost their livelihoods – no shop, no stock, and no capital to set up again: all are still waiting on compensation. The Council is silent.
For the last residents on Arden- lea Street, this act of displacement was brutal. On 24 March 2011 the Jaconelli family - barricaded in their home protesting about their appalling treatment and the injustice of compulsory purchase orders - awoke before dawn to the sound of sledgehammers at the door. Around 80 police and 15 riot vans attended with Sheriff’s officers to forcibly evict the Jaconelli’s from their home of more than 30 years. They had simply asked to be treated fairly and with respect for bearing the brunt of hosting the Games.
But Council refused to speak with them. They fight on for compensation.
What we have seen is a local neighbourhood utterly destroyed by a multi-million pound taxpayer-funded 10 day party. While the Council has approved sweet land and property deals and payouts for its wealthy pals, it has meanwhile made a family homeless, ruined the livelihoods and lives of several others, removed vital disability ser- vices and destroyed a community. Investors and developers have made millions in land sales, backroom deals and land swaps while local people are treated with disdain.
This is not a case of greedy locals ‘holding up development’, though this is what Council want us to believe. That’s a convenient lie to hide what is really going on: the displacement of local people so the rich can get richer.
None of this has been without a fight: a national campaign called ‘The Right to Stay Put’, an anti- eviction alliance, and a number of actions to hold to account those responsible have all been kick-started. Mrs Jaconelli, through her lawyer Mike Dailly of Govan Law Centre, has also successfully passed the first test at the European Court of Human Rights in a case that seeks to expose all these issues. Margaret Jaconelli, many of the displaced shop owners and their supporters continue to fight for justice, and to expose the corruption at the root of East End ‘regeneration’.

Concern for the Most Vulnerable?
The Accord Centre Fights On
In March 2011, service users of the Accord Centre day care centre for people with learning difficulties were told the building was being demolished to make way for a bus park for the Commonwealth Games. They were then promised they would be removed to a centre including with ‘like-for-like’ the same essential facilities specialist equipment and facilities that were available at the Accord Centre.
The East End Carers group immediately arranged a meeting with members of the City Council. They were told that the Games Legacy Board would ensure they would be beneficiaries of the Games Legacy.
These same people later retracted that ‘legacy’ promise, lying that they weren’t being moved because of the Games after all; and there was “no budget” for new premises. In May, 2011, The First Minster, Alex Salmond, waded into the debate, visiting the Accord centre and lecturing City Council Leader Gordon Mathieson that it was “essential that the reputation and integrity of the Commonwealth Games is not jeopardised” by demolition of the Accord Centre for a bus park.
He also stated that Glasgow City Council should, “not stand accused of letting down the most vulnerable in the community”. Since this show of bravado, Mr.Salmond has, until recently, been conspicuous by his absence, leaving service users in limbo-land.
The Save the Accord campaigners have stressed that the closure of the Accord Centre leaves no centre for disability services in the East End of Glasgow. Their campaign is a fight for the whole East End. Yet despite two large-scale demonstrations in the area, and countless public appearances, they have been ignored by the City Council.
Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council have repeatedly attempted to shove the Accord service users into the nearby Bambury community centre - a facility which campaigners have repeatedly said is simply inadequate for people with severe learning disabilities.
A ‘feasibility study’ report was commissioned by the Scottish Government and City Council for a replacement facility at the new Tollcross Aquatic Centre. But the expensive report was an attempt to discredit the carers legitimate arguments about the Bambury Community Centre and contained no feasibility study for Tollcross.
Undeterred, Save the Accord campaigners vowed to step up their fight, and expose the lies they’ve faced.
Finally, Alex Salmond has stepped in again, saying he will “assure” an up-to-date facility within the Tollcross Aquatic Centre after the 2014 Games.
This ‘assurance’ is welcome, but this is not a time to let up pressure. The Accord centre is still set for demolition, and the service users are still being fobbed off (for at least two years) with the inadequate Bambury centre. We want to see more than just the words of a politician as a guarantee of an up to date modern facility for the Accord service users. The struggle continues for a decent disability service in the East End of Glasgow.

Dodgy Land Deals
The flow of capital in Dalmarnock
Labour Councillors are paying off their chums from regeneration budgets while those they have displaced or evicted are ignored. Labour MSP Ronnie Saez, the former CEO of Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, and friend of Frank McAveety, has been made redundant from his post with a disgusting payoff of £500,000 approved by Councillors Catherine McMaster, George Redmond and James Coleman.
That’s the same George Redmond who told Margaret Jaconelli and her family to ‘take it on the chin’ when they were brutally evicted so that developers could profit from the Athlete’s Village - she has still received no compensation. And that’s the same James Coleman who promised the Accord Centre users a brand new £200,000 facility as a legacy of Glasgow 2014 ... but then lied and said he didn’t.
Budget cuts, apparently. Fortunately for Ronnie, budget cuts don’t apply to mates, so he’s sitting pretty.
Other Council pals who’ve had their pockets lined by our elected representatives. First, Mr Graham Duffy, who owned Grantly Developments (Parkhead) and had been holding onto derelict land on Millerfield Road in Dalmarnock since 1988. Once the area was named the site for the Athlete’s Village, Duffy brokered a £5.5 million deal with the Council for the land – a staggering 12,000% increase in the land value.
Then, Allan Stewart and Steve McKenna, Labour party donors, who built a property empire together, one arm of which (Stewart and McKenna Ltd) went bust in 2010 owing a massive tax bill. Stewart & McKenna Ltd bought property in Dalmarnock in 2006 for £1.6 million - just over the road from the Jaconellis. When the Athlete’s Village was announced for the site, Council paid them £1 for the land, plus £1.7m, then ‘gifted’ them another valuable parcel of land around the corner.
Another deal saw former Rangers owner David Murray’s company paid £5.1m for land bought for £375,000 a few years before.
And then there’s Charles Price, owner of the subsidiary company Springfield Properties No. 1 Ltd. Price bought property along Springfield Road in 2005-2006 for an amount believed to be around £8million, and then sold it to the Council for £17,000,000 in 2008. £9million profit: a 409% increase in the value of the land!
Compulsory Purchase Order powers (CPO’s) were used by the Council to evict the Jaconelli family and displace local shop- owners. These powers are allegedly designed to protect the public purse, and could be used to drastically limit costs in all the cases above. But there is one law for the rich, and another one for the poor in Dalmarnock. Some legacy for Glasgow.

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hellfrozeover
Dec 17 2013 22:31

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  • Meanwhile, the disabled groups and carers of the Accord Centre are being moved to make way for a car park

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