Response to Sunday Herald Article

Sunday Herald Article
1 November 2015
“Campaigners in bid to preserve docks’ heritage and secure Unesco world status”

 

Response to the Article by the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative

We are greatly encouraged that a national newspaper has taken an interest in our proposals for the restoration of Govan Graving Docks.

We welcome wider input into our consultation from a range of local and national organisations, from the local community and from the maritime sector. However our efforts are not helped by certain City Councillors who appear to be intent on orchestrating a smear campaign against us (as well as against organisations we are collaborating with) and on manipulating local organisations for the purposes of their own political agendas.

CDPI has no wish to exclude the community from our proposals. We have launched an online consultation and have encouraged people to participate. Our overall conversation has been wide ranging and has included members of the public as well as technical experts. We are also looking at running a design competition for architecture students, to produce concepts for features of a heritage park, and have had preliminary discussions with academic departments about this.

It should be pointed out that certain councillors have not replied to our correspondence asking for their suggestions of how to operate or fund the ongoing consultation process.

We have always been willing to listen to other organisations but they must be prepared to come forward and speak to us. However it is neither our responsibility nor our place to speak on behalf of third parties. The feedback we have received has been wholeheartedly positive and enthusiastic.

Our critics should bear in mind that there are now more than 6,500 petition signatures supporting our heritage park proposal. The comments left by petitions supporters clearly demonstrate the level and enthusiasm of support we have built both locally and nationally and even in the expatriate community / Scottish Diaspora as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

Councillor Stephen Dornan’s quoted comments in particular do not appear to make any sense – especially since our online consultation has been promoted online and via social media by the Central Govan Action Plan (CGAP) of which Councillor Dornan, as council member for the ward, is a steering group member. Our petition that he is quoted being critical of forms a key part of our running consultation. It is unfortunate that certain members of Glasgow City Council have opted not to offer support for this process. It is also unfortunate that other Councillors in Govan have not made any comment to provide political balance.

While we have identified a range of grant sources as being potentially appropriate for a heritage park, the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative has to date not applied for grant funding of any kind. Whether we will do so in the future is a matter for our board to decide, in consultation with our financial advisers, at such time as we are in a position of being eligible for funding.

In response to issues raised about the fitness of our team, it should be pointed out that we have consulted with experts in several fields. A heritage park will involve a diverse range of expertise to operate and people with the necessary skills in the relevant areas would be recruited when the time is appropriate. It has already been identified in a white paper what some of the potential roles, both for staff and volunteers, would be. However our recruitment policy remains a matter for internal discussion at this stage.

The claim we have not been responded to by New City Vision is not fully accurate. I have personally had dialogue with New City Vision prior to the incorporation of The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative. Since then we have made no direct approach to them as an organisation but may do so in due course if and when appropriate.

Local government budgets, even for core services, are heavily stretched and we believe that grant funding, corporate sponsorship, philanthropy and crowdfunding are the most appropriate ways to raise capital for the creation of a heritage park. However to be viable a heritage park would eventually need to be financially self-sustaining and thus would need to be run with a corporate business structure and a commercial element.

We have acted with the highest integrity in developing and putting forward our proposals for Govan Graving Docks and have absolutely noting to defend. It should also be emphasised that at this stage they are just proposals for one possible vision of a shipbuilding heritage park.

CDPI has always remained open to approaches from anyone who wishes to discuss our work or partner with us. We can be contacted via our website at http://www.cdpi.org.uk

Iain McGillivray
Executive Director
The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative Limited