‘Town hall was head­ing for de­mo­li­tion’

Lord McAvoy de­fends South La­nark­shire link

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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

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