The Parkhead Townscape Heritage Initiative
1. Was a £4 million five year plan, with the aim of repairing and bringing back to use landmark buildings, vacant shop units and enhancement to the public realm. Other public funded bodies in the initiative included Glasgow City Council, East End Partnership, East End SIP, Communities Scotland, Celtic Football Club and Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.
2. Key historic buildings at Parkhead Cross were refurbished as part of a drive to breathe new life into the East End of the city. The Heritage Lottery Fund contributed £1.4 million – one of the largest single donations it had ever awarded – to specifically restore the 100 year old Edwardian style buildings that frame the Cross. Three former bank buildings, were renovated to bring empty floor space back into viable use and improve the overall streetscape.
3. To recap. Following submission of plans for the extensive re-building of their stadium in the mid 90s by Celtic FC . Glasgow District Council Planning Committee sold the club significant tracts of land namely Kinloch Street, Janefield Street and Dalriada Street for the princely sum of 1p.
4. The Planning Committee comprised thirteen members, eleven Labour, one SNP, and one Tory. The SNP member was so disgusted with the dealings of his own committee that he informed the Glasgow Herald that “the eleven Labour Councillors on the committee were either season ticket holders or share holders at Celtic Park. Eight of them both”. He further noted that, “if the eleven Councillors were shareholders in ICI and voted for lax planning consent on a petro – chemical plant, there would be criminal proceedings”. (This was also reported in Private Eye’s “Rotten Borough’s” column).
5. So, it is established that Glasgow District Council sold three streets, Dalriada Street, Janefield Street, and Kinloch Street to Celtic for a penny. Shortly after, the combined efforts of the Board of Scottish Enterprise (Glasgow) ie Paul Cooney, Wullie Haughey, Charlie Gordon, Stephen Purcell, etc….etc, together with the First Minister and Celtic season ticket and share holder, Jack McConnell ensured the Commonwealth Games would be centered on Celtic Park. Soon after information was released confirming that a new “Velodrome” would be constructed across the London Road together with a number of office blocks housing, “Sports Scotland” (to be relocated from Edinburgh).
6. Enter the full staffing compliment of “Culture and Sport Glasgow” who took up significant areas of the newly built office space. The Chief Executive of this public funded body on a salary in excess of £100K was Bridget McConnell, wife of Jack. Critics likened her appointment too, in football parlance, being akin to promoting a youth team stalwart directly to the Captaincy of the first team.
7. Still for some it made sense to centralise the decision making processes in one place. The offices would be able to host meetings of the many MPs, MSPs, MEPs, Councillors, and Chief Executive of Public Funded bodies involved in planning the games. And only a stones throw away just across London Road is Parkhead scheduled to be the sporting Centre of the Commonwealth for 3 weeks in the summer of 2014.
8. A completely disproportionate number of staff at Glasgow City Council – including those at top end of the salary scale such as Bridget McConnell – are RCs. Nearly all Labour councillors are RCs and few councillors are members of any other party.
9. Roman Catholic ex-Lord Provost Dr. Michael Kelly questioned the reasons behind this phenomenon a few years ago live on radio, the inference being the situation had arisen out of bigotry. Credit to him for being so open and honest.
10. Mosson’s wife was certainly not prepared to let taxpayers’ money go to waste during her husband’s stint as Provost, insisting on an increase in her dress allowance from £8,000 to £14,000 p.a. When questioned, she justified this by famously claiming “the people of Glasgow wouldn’t want to see me wearing the same outfit twice”. Mr Mosson was the inaugural Chairman of The Celtic Trust and perhaps unsurprisingly, made sure that the official limousine was at hand for his regular trips to Celtic Park, a policy that was also questioned by political opponents. Strangely, he never took the opportunity of visiting Ibrox.
11. Perhaps it is not surprising, therefore, that the motives driving the major figures “Jack McConnell, Ron Culley, Steven Purcell and Frank McAveety”, all regulars at Celtic Park and fronting the Commonwealth Games bid need to be openly discussed.
12. There are huge question marks over the £288m budget (80% to be paid by the Executive), given that the cost of the `indoor arena’ alone has recently escalated from an original £24m to £70m.
13. McConnell, a personal friend of Former Chairman of Scottish Enterprise, Willie Haughey met the “City Refrigeration Holdings” boss (and ex-Celtic director) Willie Haughey to discuss the M74 extension project, after which an initial £7.4m compensation award was increased to £16.5m – with Haughey subsequently donating £330,000 to the Labour Party.
14. Haughey is Scotland ‘s biggest single donor to Labour Party funds. He received £16 million of tax-payers money, approved by Jack McConnell, to relocate his business to facilitate the M74 extension……to Parkhead.
15. In contrast to the largesse being bestowed on the East End of Glasgow, SPT instructed Rangers that the club would have to fork out £500k if the old Ibrox station on the Central-Paisley line was ever to be re-opened.
16. When are our elected representatives in opposition going to ask some searching questions regarding the various deals surrounding East End regeneration, the Commonwealth Games bid, the M74 extension and the proposed rail/subway extensions? And the reason why the bulk of the “regeneration” is centred around a one mile radius of Celtic Park.