Royston (Regeneration)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 24th June 2014.

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Photo of Paul Martin Paul Martin Labour

With great pleasure I will confine my remarks to the motion in Bob Doris’s name, which I support. I can make your job much easier, Presiding Officer, by saying that I am the former MSP for Glasgow Springburn, which included Royston. Indeed, I was elected as a councillor for Royston on 16 December 1993. I was delighted to be Royston’s local representative during those years.

I can amplify many of the points that Bob Doris and Patricia Ferguson made about the good work of local activists in Royston. I can speak in particular of Charlie Lunn, Tilly McIlroy and Jackie Kerr. The three of them led the regeneration process to ensure that local people got access to good-quality housing. We have seen success in Royston and people speak volumes about that because the individuals I referred to ensured that the process was genuinely community led. I say very respectfully that they ensured that the community had its say during those years, particularly from the mid-1990s to 2005 and 2006, when we saw a number of investments that made a significant difference to the area that I would refer to as the Garngad. I was conditioned during my years as an elected representative of the area to call it the Garngad, and I welcome what Patricia Ferguson said about taking forward the issue of its name in 2022.

The challenge that the Rosemount Development Trust faced was the challenge that Bob Doris referred to: the unacceptable employment statistic that we faced. At that stage, 23 per cent of the local population were unemployed. The Rosemount Development Trust wanted to ensure local opportunities for development and opportunities for unemployed people. Challenging that unemployment statistic was a priority for the trust, which is why we developed the Rosemount workspace. As we speak, more than 300 people are employed on that site. That investment is welcome.

As other members have said, it is important that we continue to develop the process and challenge the unacceptable health statistics, but the other challenge that we face in the Garngad—or Royston, as it is referred to in the motion—is educational attainment. I was delighted to be one of the people who led the campaign to ensure that St Roch’s secondary and primary schools were retained in the Garngad. Ensuring that local youngsters have genuine opportunities to improve their educational attainment is absolutely crucial in the Garngad area. Anything that we can do in this Parliament to ensure that action is taken in that respect is extremely important.

This is a good example of local activists ensuring, with the professional support that they have received from the officers involved in the local area, that they genuinely make a difference. We should learn from those lessons. As Patricia Ferguson said, we need to learn from the negative examples of the multistoreys that we are demolishing—looking not that far away—and the positive examples that have been set out in the Garngad area of Glasgow.