‘Town hall was heading for demolition’
Lord McAvoy defends South Lanarkshire link
Lord McAvoy of Rutherglen reckons Rutherglen Town Hall would have been bulldozed if the Burgh had remained part of the Glasgow council area in the 1990s.
The peer was responding to the words from Glasgow author and historian, Ian R Mitchell, who last week told the Reformer he felt the suburbs of the city should be incorporated into the local government area.
In a letter to the Reformer this week, he says: “Rutherglen, Cambuslang and Halfway people have shown that they don’t like being part of a large unresponsive unit which large cities often become.”
Lord McAvoy says arguments that Rutherglen residents use Glasgow facilities is a distortion of the facts as 80 per cent of council funding comes from the Scottish Government.
He also says a referendum of the local population saw the town vote clearly to become part of South Lanarkshire.
The former Rutherglen MP adds : “South Lanarkshire Council has a good record of representing the various communities within it and I personally believe if the Town Hall had not been renovated by South Lanarkshire Council, Glasgow City Council’s neglect would have resulted in its demolition.
“I advocate sensible cooperation with Glasgow City Council which, to its credit, is a positive influence. This is the way ahead for local government, not divisive claims of people not paying their fair share. There can be no railroading of communities.”
Lord McAvoy told the Reformer this week he was “more than prepared to debate with anyone,” who thinks Rutherglen or Cambuslang should be part of the city.
Mr Mitchell, whose books include This City Now, Clydeside: Red, Orange and Green and most recently, A Glasgow Mosaic, said he believed both Glasgow and Rutherglen would benefit from any such move.
In last week’s Reformer, he said: “Glasgow is a vibrant city and that’s not spread to the peripheral areas.
“Glasgow’s second biggest industry is now tourism. People come to Glasgow but they don’t go and see Rutherglen Town Hall because it is not on their radar.
“And why should the city publicise these things, it’s big business now, but if it was part of Glasgow people would know about it, so I think there would be benefit for Rutherglen as well.”
His comments provoked debate on our social media pages, with many people looking back to when the Burgh was part of the old Glasgow District.
Elaine Nicol was not convinced, saying on Facebook: “He is joking. Glasgow totally neglected Rutherglen and Cambuslang back when they were in Glasgow District. The two areas were only included for bringing money in but he does say that is what he is even less impressed, saying: ‘ The Town Hall would have ended up being demolished if we were still under GCC! Most areas on the outskirts of Glasgow are left to their own devices and are pretty hellish’.”
However, there was some support from Gary Painter, who said: “Look at an aerial photo, and Rutherglen and Cambuslang are physically attached to Glasgow and separated from the rest of Lanarkshire by the green belt. Like a large number of people in the area, I work and socialise in Glasgow, and probably spend more time there than I do in South Lanarkshire. Couldn’t tell you the last time I went to Hamilton or East Kilbride for leisure or shopping.”
He added: “I just find South Lanarkshire to be a bit parochial - Cambuslang and Rutherglen are still sorely lacking in cultural or leisure facilities, so I’m not convinced that we’re any less neglected than we supposedly were under Glasgow.”
And Davey Boyle said: “Does that mean we won’t get a boundary charge off the taxis for going all the way to South Lanarkshire? Pure rubbish rule man.”
Pride The Town Hall is a symbol of Rutherglen, but Lord McAvoy reckons it could have been bulldozed if the town had remained in Glasgow
Glas-no Lord McAvoy is an opponent of any moves to return Rutherglen to Glasgow