Neighbourhood Infrastructure Improvement Fund recommendations to Dennistoun Area Partnership

Glasgow City Council (GCC) have advised that, for the Dennistoun Community Council (DCC) proposals for pedestrian infrastructure improvements, in and around our area to be progressed as part of the £1 million per ward Neighbourhood Infrastructure Improvement Fund (NIIF), they require approval by the Dennistoun Area Partnership (DAP).

Since receiving that GCC response to DCC, the DAP meeting agenda for 19 September 2023 has been published. It can be viewed here. Item 3 provides an NIIF update report, accompanied by appendices listing various GCC proposals for £252,000 of road maintenance resurfacing work.

With the above noted, DCC provided the below information and recommendations to all councillors for the Dennistoun and Calton wards, and the GCC Neighbourhoods Liaison Manager.

A PDF of the below submission can be viewed here.

Neighbourhood Infrastructure Improvement Fund recommendations ahead of 19 September 2023 Dennistoun Area Partnership meeting

The Neighbourhood Infrastructure Improvement Fund (NIIF) was discussed at the Dennistoun Community Council (DCC) meeting on 12th September 2023.

DCC has promoted and engaged constructively with the NIIF and Liveable Neighbourhood (LN) processes throughout their respective stages of progress, via consultations, DCC public meetings, Dennistoun Area Partnership (DAP) meetings, community council development sessions, councillor correspondence, and correspondence with Glasgow City Council (GCC) officers.

DAP and NIIF Timeline

7 June 2022 – GCC News (‘Communities central to decisions on £23m infrastructure investment’) included the following:

  • The NIIF will see £1m allocated for improvements in each of the city’s 23 council wards with community representatives having a direct say on how the money will be spent.
  • Investment available through the NIIF will be in addition to finance routinely available for addressing the most pressing infrastructure issues across the city.

22 June 2022 – DCC correspondence

  • DCC has substantial concerns about the NIIF options lists included in recent reports presented to both the Calton and Dennistoun Area Partnerships for consideration, and the manner in which they have been presented.
  • DCC requests that final decisions on chosen options are deferred to allow time for the Council to compile a list which better reflects community aspirations and the stated aims of the scheme, and to ensure appropriate communications with stakeholders are facilitated.

28 June 2022 – Report to Dennistoun Area Partnership (DAP) by George Gillespie regarding the NIIF, included the following:

  • The Area Partnership will have the opportunity to inform officers of what work they would like to be considered within their ward.
  • The investment will support key themes set out in the Council’s Strategic Plan, Active Travel Strategies and Traffic and Road Safety Plans.
  • Consideration of Glasgow’s Liveable Neighbourhoods must be accounted for and this will enable areas to be accessible and healthy places that allow people, of all ages and abilities, out to play and socialise in their local area. Neighbourhoods should perform in such a way that maximises the social, economic and environmental benefits of the area through interventions that improve localities and place and help to reduce the city’s dependency on cars by making walking, cycling and public transport first choice. Our Neighbourhood Infrastructure investment strategy will also encompass the fundamental principles of the Council’s Liveable Neighbourhoods ethos.
  • Public consultation and engagement form the key element of the investment strategy, ensuring a significant proportion of the investment is informed by local communities and a variety of stakeholders including: Elected Members, Community Councils, Resident Associations, Housing Associations, Public Transport Operators, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue.

The minutes for this meeting note that “After consideration and having heard concerns regarding the lack of community engagement and the proposed short delivery timescales, the Partnership noted that further community engagement was required to be undertaken by officers in Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability“.

21 September 2022 – Verbal Report by Director of NRS to DAP included the following:

  • That “a further engagement plan was required and that a range of consultations, both digitally and face to face with the community would be needed for suggestions for the use of the funds from residents of the Dennistoun Ward to be put forward; and that an update would be submitted to the next meeting of this Partnership outlining details of the consultation process.

The DAP requested “that an update would be submitted to the next meeting of this Partnership outlining details of the consultation process.

7 November 2022 – Progressing Beyond The Liveable Neighbourhood Longlist

  • GCC NRS has committed to providing a written report to the next meeting of the DAP [23/11/2022], detailing an engagement plan with online and in-person consultations to gather investment ideas from residents, including a detailed breakdown of costs for each proposal. The NIIF, therefore, should be used as a key that begins to unlock some the potential identified by the LN plan.

23 November 2022 – No NIIF update provided to DAP.

14 February 2023 – Verbal update to DAP on the NIIF by Mr Martin Lundie, NRS, included the following:

  • Work was ongoing in relation to the provision of written reports to future meetings of the Partnership.
  • An update of the consultation process of the Infrastructure Improvement Fund and of the next steps of the engagement design plan that would be finalised in June 2023 and would be handed over to Community Empowerment and Equalities to co-ordinate the engagement process with the local community.
  • Suggestions or ideas regarding projects” were invited.

The DAP agreed to wait until the consultations to commence with local communities (in June 2023) prior to spending from the fund.

25 April 2023 – NIIF Progress Update to DAP, included the following:

  • Options reports in relation to the NIIF were presented to all Area Partnerships in Spring 2022, across a number of infrastructure categories, and feedback from some was that this process required wider community input to determine what residents would like to see the money spent on.
  • And “it was suggested that options presented could be circulated to Community Councils and other Partnership Organisations for their feedback and some have done so or are in the process of doing so.
  • It is worth noting that this funding is capital expenditure and therefore can be carried forward to be spent in future financial years.
  • This is a capital fund and the intention is that it is spent on physical improvements in communities.
  • Wider community involvement in decision making will continue” [and it is important] “to deliver the best outcomes for citizens from this significant investment opportunity.

5 September 2023 – DCC proposes improvements to pedestrian infrastructure.

  • With various NIIF reporting, engagement and consultation milestones missed, and in the absence of any direct consultation with the public or the community council, DCC took the step of creating a collection of proposals for improvements to pedestrian infrastructure. These were provided to GCC Neighbourhoods Liaison Manager Martin Lundie, all Cllrs for the DCC area, and shared with the public for comment. The agenda for the 19 September DAP was not available.

12 September 2023 – GCC publishes agenda for 19 September 2023 DAP meeting.

  • The published DAP agenda for the meeting to take place on 19 September includes an NIIF progress update report requesting approval for several items of road resurfacing work with a total cost of £252,000 to be paid for from NIIF funding.
  • The report states “It is worth noting that this funding is capital expenditure and therefore can be carried forward to be spent in future financial years.”

Liveable Neighbourhood

It is additionally noted that, since the announcement of the NIIF, the LN Stage 1 and Stage 2 reports have been published, including longlists and shortlists identifying various interventions to improve active travel infrastructure provision within our neighbourhood, based on in-depth area-specific research and extensive public consultation.

DCC Recommendations

1. Councillors (and Area Partnership members) are asked to agree that only projects which introduce new and materially improved infrastructure should be approved for NIIF funding, and that the proposed roads maintenance (like-for-like resurfacing) resurfacing schemes listed in the 19 September 2023 DAP agenda do not meet that criteria or the stated intent of NIIF funding.

2. Councillors (and Area Partnership members) are asked to reject any proposal for NIIF spending on roads maintenance work (carriageway or footway resurfacing or similar), and that such work should be carried out under existing maintenance budgets.

3. Councillors (and Area Partnership members) are asked to submit the DCC proposals for pedestrian infrastructure improvements to GCC, with the request that each of the identified proposals (listed with a numbered or lettered reference in the table on page 5 and 6 of the proposal document) are reviewed and costed by GCC, and that this information is reported back to the next DAP meeting (on 28 November 2023) for review. This may be as part of a broader GCC process for compiling costed suggestions to be submitted to the DAP for NIIF funding approval.

Councillor Response

Received from Cllr Casey on 20 September 2023:

Thank you for your email and also for the time and effort you have put in to drawing up these proposals which I would be more than happy to consider and ensure they form part of the public engagement process that we will be undertaking soon.

As you may be aware the Area Partnership has previously requested a number of other projects be brought forward that could link projects that we have previously funded via parks and open spaces funding to other off the shelve proposals that have been recommended as part of the liveable neighbourhoods project in Dennistoun and the Royston to Hogganfeild liveable neighbourhood also, to make them more meaningful investments.

This could potentially include the creation of a new park and pathways in Germiston, Improving active travel at the M8 Junction 15 underpass and also the project identified in Hogarth Park. Other potential projects could include looking at opening an entrance to the necropolis on the eastern side however as you will know there is specific engagement required for that.

In terms of your recommendations I will try and answer them in turn.

Rec 1 – It has been the aspiration of the area partnership to promote new and meaningful infrastructure and that was one of the main reasons why we did not pursue any of the initial projects promoted by NRS back last June 2022.

One thing I would say however about the NIIF funding is that its main purpose is to devolve money to local communities to decide how they wish to invest. I wouldn’t want to predetermine what comes out of the consultation process as there may be a demand from the community to invest in roads maintenance and we would have to consider that on its merits. However just to be clear it is my preference to invest in new infrastructure.

Rec 2 – As above I would not want to predetermine what comes out of any consultation exercise and as an area partnership we should review any proposals from the public on their merits.

Rec 4[*] – I had outlined yesterday during the area partnership meeting that I would be more than happy to consider the proposals put forward by the community council. What I would say however is that asking for these to be costed just now is one step ahead of the consultation exercise. I believe there is an initial phase that has a call out for ideas (which you have done) and they also put forward ideas to the public to see what they think. This would then be reported back to the Area Partnership to decide which projects should go forward for costing. As stated I would be more than happy for DCC’s proposals to form part of the initial phase of consultation.

In addition to the above there seems to be some confusion about roads investment works that were detailed in the document yesterday. This was because during the councils budget process for year 22/23 a small amount of the capital funding of the £23m was borrowed from the NIIF Fund to be replaced in future years budgets. This money was borrowed as we understood that the full £23m would not be allocated in year 22/23. The amount borrowed from Dennistoun was £252,000 and the roads investment priorities were carried out by officers on the normal risk basis. As stated this will be fully refunded and the Area Partnership will still have the full £1m to allocate.

I hope the above is helpful and would be more than happy to chat further on this issue.

[*understood to be a typo intended as being ‘Rec 3’; there was no Rec 4 from DCC]

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Dennistoun CC

Dennistoun CC's aim is to ascertain, coordinate and express the views of the wider community. It seeks to promote the Dennistoun area as a positive and inclusive neighbourhood.

2 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Infrastructure Improvement Fund recommendations to Dennistoun Area Partnership”

  1. Absolutely agree that road maintenance should not be paid out of NIIF budget! I like some of the pedestrian improvement proposals, especially on Alexandra Parade; anything that stops it being a race course after 20:00 in the evening. More pedestrian crossings, ideally with faster reaction time to crossing requests would be great.
    Properly maintained sidewalks with properly created & maintained (ie cleared & functioning road drains so no flooding !!!) lowered curbs for buggies, wheelchairs and toddler cyclists would also be good.
    Other than your posts via DCC I find it very hard to keep informed about such initiatives; don’t find GCC website very user friendly.
    Thanks for your work as DCC, hopefully one day I can actually make a meeting.

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