Saturday, 26 March 2011

Games Monitor: The eviction

Photos and more about the Jaconelli eviction:

Friday, 25 March 2011


100 cops evict gran from flat for Commonweath Games

MORE than 100 police officers yesterday helped evict a defiant gran from her flat, which is to be flattened for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

In a 5am raid, Margaret Jaconelli, 52, was shifted by force from her Glasgow home of 35 years after an eight-year legal battle.

Her supporters were stunned by the numbers used by Strathclyde Police, but the force said the eviction was “resourced appropriately”.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Herald notices Glasgow planning makes no sense

It took them awhile, but still the elite organ the Glasgow Herald finally notices that the City Council's destruction of the city makes no sense. Still, they oddly recommend that Margaret Jaconelli "take the money and move on". However, they do - finally, belatedly - recognise that knocking down communities does not engender communities. Better late than never?

The real legacy of the 2014 Games

The transformation of the east end of Glasgow into an international sports hub for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 is but the latest episode in the decades-long saga of regeneration of the area.

Successive city councillors, planners, economists and architects have wrestled with Quixotic plans to once again make the post-industrial city the Dear Green Place.

There have been many mistakes along the way, mostly due to vaulting municipal ambition. Glasgow undertook the largest, post-war, comprehensive redevelopment of any city in the UK and thousands of tenements were demolished. Famously, a delegation of councillors to Marseille in 1947 were so bedazzled by Le Corbusier’s tower blocks that they returned with visions of replacing dark slums with sun-filled, high-rise towers. The reality in rainy west of Scotland was very different. The most notorious blocks in Hutchesontown, where tenants used to conduct journalists on tours of the mould growing on the walls, have now been demolished.

With the award of the title of European City of Architecture in 1999 came a new sense of custodianship, not just of the ornate city centre buildings but of the streets of handsomely proportioned sandstone tenements which have been integral to the physical and social structure of the city since Victorian times.

Yet the recognition that too many have been lost that might have been refurbished has not spared the traditional streets around Parkhead from the developers’ bulldozers. The tried and tested model of three floors of tenement flats above ground floor shops provides the sense of community all planners seek. In this case, however, that has been trumped by the greater good of the new community due to emerge as the legacy of the Commonwealth Games.

Which is where Jack and Margaret Jaconelli come into the picture. Their tenement flat is now the only one still occupied in Ardenlea Street, the whole of which is to be demolished to provide a construction yard for the athletes’ village for the Games. The Jaconellis’ flat is the subject of a compulsory purchase order by the council.

Naturally, they don’t want to leave the home they have lived in for 34 years and now own outright. Mrs Jaconelli’s feisty resistance must endear her to all of us whose natural instinct is to take the side of the underdog in the face of corporate clout or against a public body failing in its duty to act fairly and reasonably. Having lost an appeal against a sheriff’s ruling that the council can evict her, she and her family have barricaded themselves in.

Unlike householders on land adjoining Donald Trump’s golf course in Aberdeenshire, who have gained assurances the tycoon will not ask the council to take out compulsory purchase orders on their homes, the stand-off between the couple and the council is not as simple a David and Goliath battle as it first appears. Mrs Jaconelli turned down the offer of £30,000 for her flat because it would not be sufficient to buy another. That is true but neighbours who took the offer when it was first made gained a sizeable deposit which enabled them to buy a better house.

The council has since increased its offer to £90,000 but Mrs Jaconelli was not satisfied because it compared poorly with compensation paid to property developers. The couple spend £5000 a year on heating their two-bedroom flat as a result of the condition of the building. A letter submitted to the court from their doctor says both are suffering from stress due to their housing circumstances and a move would improve their health. It surely is now in her interest to take the money on offer and move. [???!!!]

Nevertheless, the council must be held to account. The success or failure of the Games must be judged as much on the legacy as on the sporting festival, attendance figures and income generated. Improved health and wealth for ithe community are part of the deal.

It is not only the sanctity of people’s homes that must be respected. Instead of demolishing the stones and structure of the community, a new sense of purpose and pride in the east end of Glasgow would be better achieved by building on them.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Vote Margaret Jaconelli!

Eviction protestor bids for move to Holyrood

23 Mar 2011

A GRANDMOTHER embroiled in a bitter eviction battle over plans to demolish her home to make way for the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village is to stand for the Scottish Parliament.

Margaret Jaconelli, 52, said yesterday she would contest May’s poll on a platform of fighting for a fair legacy for Glasgow after the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She will put up a £500 deposit raised by supporters of her bid to remain in her home.

The announcement came as she remained barricaded in her tenement in the Dalmarnock area of the city after being served with an eviction notice by Glasgow City Council on Friday.

Mrs Jaconelli urged the council to delay moving in until after polling day on May 5 as she plans to designate the home as her campaign headquarters in the six-week run up to the election.

The would-be politician and her husband, Jack, also 52, are the only remaining residents in a now-derelict block of flats in Ardenlea Street, which is set to be demolished to make way for a 52-hectare athletes’ village.

She said: “Before now, I had never dreamed of entering the world of politics. But then I realised I have been locked in a political battle with this council for the past eight years.

“They want to steal my home from me and my family but I have had neither the power not political platform to take them on.

“That changes now. Hopefully, with the support of the Glasgow people, I can highlight the disgraceful way our community has been treated in the name of these Games.

“It is not about me. I am aware of many examples where this council has bulldozed the rights of its citizens. People have been coming to me recently asking for help.

“I would ask the council to respect the fact that my home is now my campaign headquarters and remove the threat of eviction until after the vote.”

A source close to Mrs Jaconelli said she was completing paperwork for her candidacy ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline for entries. He added that she he planned to submit the forms in person at the City Chambers.

He added that she was currently seeking advice on whether to stand as a list MSP or in a particular seat, and remained undecided.

Dozens of Mrs Jaconelli’s supporters continued to hold a vigil outside the property throughout yesterday, with many sleeping in their cars overnight.

However, a council spokesman said their “position had not changed” and the eviction was still on track despite being more than four days past its original deadline.

The family’s lawyer, Mike Dailly said he did not believe citing the flat as a campaign headquarters would stop it being demolished.

He said he will now take the fight to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr Dailly said: “I don’t feel we can go any further within UK law. We have taken this appeal to Europe. We do believe this is a violation of their human rights.”

The council has been granted a compulsory purchase order on the property. Mrs Jaconelli’s last appeal to the Court of Session was rejected on Thursday, and an eviction notice was issued next day.

However, the council failed to go through with the removal, citing fears for the safety of young children inside the house, which has been barricaded.

The council has offered £90,000 compensation to the couple. They have no mortgage but say after legal fees and other costs they would not be able to buy another property in Glasgow outright.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Games organisers "failed to meet dozens of targets"

Evening Times:

Salmond called in to Games row

21 Mar 2011

First Minister Alex Salmond has been asked to explain why Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games organisers have failed to meet dozens of targets.

Liberal Democrat MSP Robert Brown said the missed milestones were “extremely worrying”.

The 2014 Games are being run by Glasgow 2014 Ltd, known as the Organising Committee, along with Scottish Government and city council funders.

A draft of the committee’s latest business plan, leaked to our sister paper the Sunday Herald, shows 46 milestones have not been met. Dates were put back over a year, or reprofiled as “to be confirmed”.

A “ceremonies strategic plan”, due in January, had not yet been published, while the date on the accommodation plan had slipped by nine months.

A logistics strategic plan missed its completion date of June last year, and an anti doping scheme milestone went by the wayside.

Mr Brown raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions, but did not get the answers he wanted. Now, in a letter to Mr Salmond, the former deputy education minister has asked for a detailed reply, saying: “The level of delays and slippage indicated, seem to me to be extremely worrying.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said the Games “remain on track and on budget”, a comment echoed by the Organising Committee.

Meanwhile, a couple facing eviction to make way for the Games village have fortified their Dalmarnock flat against bids to take it over.

Margaret and her husband Jack, both 52, lost a legal fight to stay in their home.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Margaret Jaconelli secures 2014 Games eviction hearing

BBC Online:

She is the last remaining resident in a block of flats at Ardenlea Street

A woman whose home is to be demolished to make way for the 2014 Commonwealth Games has secured a last-minute hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Margaret Jaconelli, a 52-year-old grandmother, is due to be evicted from her flat in Dalmarnock, Glasgow, later after losing an appeal last week.

Her application to take the case to the Court of Session was then refused by Glasgow Sheriff Court.

However, on Wednesday, her lawyer managed to secure the 1000 GMT hearing.

Mrs Jaconelli was told earlier this week that she could appeal the compensation awarded to her through the Lands Tribunal but the eviction scheduled for Thursday afternoon would not be postponed.

She is the last remaining resident in a block of flats at Ardenlea Street.

'Fingers crossed'

Glasgow City Council was granted a compulsory purchase order for the two-bedroom property.

Mrs Jaconelli said the £30,000 initially offered for her home, which she has lived in for 34 years, was not enough to buy another property.

The city council said the district valuer had since increased the offer to £90,000.

Mrs Jaconelli said: "I am keeping my fingers crossed that I still have a roof over my head by Thursday night.

"Me and my family have worked all our lives for what we have.

"I still maintain that this council is trying to steal my house from me."

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Games "on track"

Don't worry, everything's fine:

BBC Online

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on track - director

Scotstoun is one of the venues that will be used in the 2014 Games

Director Gordon Arthur has responded to claims that Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has missed deadlines by insisting preparations are "on track."

Recent press reports suggested that milestones in the build-up to the event had not been met.

"We've not missed 50 milestones, we have re-phased," said Arthur.

"We are from the organising committee's planning point of view and the Games partners' delivery of infrastructure programme, in a very good place."

Arthur insisted the organising committee was keen to ensure that public money was being spent responsibly and at the right time.

"We've got huge support from the media right across Scotland," he told BBC Radio Scotland's Sport Nation programme.

"One is always going to get the occasional articles where people take a different stance.

"A year ago, when we put together our business plan, we set out largely based on the guidance that we get from the knowledge transfer system that's run by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

"Remember, we were only about 20 people in the organising committee a year ago. We set out a programme of work, but most of what we've been doing during the year, as well as recruiting people, is understanding better the task that we've got to do and a huge amount of that understanding and knowledge transfer takes you to re-phasing your work.

All the infrastructure build that's going on in Scotland, which is much, much smaller but nevertheless very impressive programme, is absolutely on track
Gordon Arthur

"So we haven't missed milestones, we've re-phased a lot of our work and the reason we do that is to make sure we don't recruit people any earlier than we need to, or spend money any earlier than we need to.

"We're very conscious we're publicly funded in the main and we want to spend that money very, very wisely."

The build-up to the Delhi Games in 2010 was beset with problems in terms of getting facilities ready on time and Arthur admits that the Glasgow organising committee cannot afford to keep "re-phasing" right up until the event itself.

"Clearly that would not be helpful, but it's all about understanding better where we are and what we're doing," added Arthur.

"Since we came back from Delhi, we've done about two thirds of our very detailed functional area strategies.

"We now have a really detailed understanding of the complexity of the programme and all the interdependencies that lie between the different aspects of the programme.

"We are on track, we are on budget and we are very happy, as are the Commonwealth Games Federation, with where we are at this point in time.

"The big challenge Delhi had is they took on an enormous programme of building. It wasn't just the venues, they were building new metro systems, new roads, new railways - it was a colossal programme of infrastructure build they took on.

"All the infrastructure build that's going on in Scotland, which is much, much smaller but nevertheless very impressive programme, is absolutely on track.

"The facilities are largely due to be open two years before the Games and will be used by concerts and sporting events.

"The M74 (extension) is due to open this year. The Airdrie-Bathgate rail line's already open."