Govan Graving Docks
A briefing paper
The A-listed Govan Graving Docks – a hugely important industrial heritage site – have been derelict and deteriorating for almost 30 years. There are tripping hazards on the site, broken glass and deep open shafts some hidden by weeds. Engineers have advised us there will be contaminated soil on the site. There are gaps in the fence through which children and teenagers can easily get access – putting themselves at great risk – particularly if they are there to consume alcohol as is often the case.
In that time councillors in the area have done nothing whatsoever to address the state of the docks, the hazard it presents or seek any remedy. It is only since our restoration campaign and especially since the formation of Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative (CDPI) that councillors (and one councillor in particular) have taken a very close interest. It is very clear that certain individuals are intent on preventing CDPI from having any kind of involvement with the future of Govan graving docks and we believe they have been bad-mouthing us to several parties. It is becoming clear that a number of organisations in Govan have put up a wall and appear reluctant to speak to The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative about Govan Graving Docks.
While other councillors have reserved judgement, kept their distance or dealt with us very constructively and cordially – one particular councillor, who has been openly very hostile towards CDPI, even seems to be colluding with the current owners to try and shut us out. While at the same time trying to reframe CDPI as wealthy developers trying to take the docks away from the people of Govan. [You’ve caught us! We’re planning to ship them brick-by-brick to North America!]
We were told by a councillor at a focus group last year not to set up an organisation (i.e. CDPI) without first consulting with the community. Any form of consultation requires a vehicle to do it. This seems very much like an indirect way for this councillor to tell us not to do anything without their express permission. Do we need permission from an individual councillor to do anything?
Clearly we have stamped on one or two toes and a certain individual sees opportunity to make political hay to get votes.
We have been told by a councillor that the present owners of the graving docks will take things forward with the site and that what the developers do will be decided by “the people of Govan” and not “a group of individuals who have just set up an organisation and a website”.
The reality is that whatever the owners do will be decided by themselves alone and their level of investment capital – provided they obtain planning consent. The “people of Govan” will have no veto over this. People will be able to make representations for or against planning applications but as experience has often shown (e.g. with the North Kelvin Meadow decision just this week – which is proposed for development by the same group that owns the graving docks) this has minimal influence over the planning process.
Would the councillor rather see Govan Graving Docks eventually looking like Canary Wharf than CDPI have any involvement in the future of the site? We’re not sure we know the answer to that.
It is beyond belief that such behaviour can go on in the First Minister’s constituency.