Govanhill deserves better than dirty streets

IN the main, Glasgow is a well kept city with swept streets and lovely parks awash with flowers.

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But like any large international city, there are areas which council bosses would prefer visitors to keep clear of.

Govanhill is sadly one of those areas because of the actions of a small minority of thoughtless people.

Recently council workers carried out a blitz in the once tight-knit community, lifting 120 tons of rubbish in just four weeks.

But angry residents pointed out that within days, the streets were again awash with discarded furniture, rolls of carpet, plastic bags and worse.

For once, the focus of their fury was not the council workers who valiantly try and stay on top of the mountain of refuse.

It was mainly directed towards the people who think nothing of leaving their unwanted goods and litter in the street.

In the past few weeks, the city council has clamped down on fly-tippers and litter louts resulting in 760 warning letters being issued.

More than 3000 leaflets have been delivered to homes in Romanian, Slovakian and English explaining how to dispose of waste.

And daily spot checks were carried out on litter hotspots.

The council has not been working alone in its bid to clean up Govanhill but has joined forces with more than 20 different agencies in a project led by Police Scotland.

As well as short term projects focusing on litter, they have set up long term schemes aimed at improving the education, skills and employment prospects of residents.

The hope is to improve their chances of finding work and lifting themselves out of the poverty trap.

The council is also trying to take action against irresponsible landlords who cram up to 15 people in a one bedroom flats.

But that in itself poses a problem.

Properties which are occupied by three or more people who are not related have to be registered as houses in multiple occupation with all the regular checks that entails.

The same is not the case if a flat is occupied by a large number of people who are from the same family.

In Govanhill, poverty forces large families to live in small homes all too often owned by landlords who are only in it for the money.

The council believes one way of helping solve the problems in Govanhill would be to buy up rented properties which go on the market.

They would be handed over to local housing associations which would take on responsibility for their management.

The problem is there are believed to be around 2600 landlords in Govanhill and buying up flats in just two of the worst blocks would cost around £32million.

That is money the council just does not have.

Local government

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