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Legal first as locals threaten court action against Glasgow’s council over fence row

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A pitch in Cathkin Park is the only functioning remains of a 50,000-seat stadium once known as the “the second Hampden” where Queen’s Park and Third Lanark once called home.

Now maintained by Glasgow City Council, the space was taken over in 2022 by the Jimmy Johnstone Academy, a charity founded in memory of the late Celtic player.

The lease was on the proviso that the football pitch, in the Mount Florida area of the city, would remain open to the public.

The Herald:

To the ire of locals, a fence has now been erected around the pitch in a move criticised by residents as “the privatisation of a local park”.

While the council confirmed planning permission was given to the Academy to erect the barrier, one local man is now taking the local authority to court over the legality of the matter.

In what is believed to be one of the first cases of its kind in Scotland, park neighbour Greg Brown has taken legal advice on the three-metre high fence and has begun crowdfunding for a judicial review in the court of session.

His petition has gathered more than 1000 signatures and, as well as raising concerns for Scotland’s right to roam and local wildlife, reads: “Playing in a public park must remain free to all.

The Herald:

“I firmly believe that football should be for everyone, but this is the last grass pitch on public land in the south-east of Glasgow free for anyone to use,” Brown wrote on a crowdfunder for his legal costs.

“We’ve been sharing our park with the club for 15 years and will continue to – they don’t need a fence.”

The move is high risk, he said, because, while he is receiving pro bono advice from law firm R&R Urquhart, Mr Brown would potentially have to pay the council’s legal costs if the case falls.

Local families have rallied to the cause, holding fundraising events and protests to draw attention to the plight of the park.

Recently more than local residents held an “emergency picnic” and family fun day to protest against the fence.


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Organised by locals, the colourful day out included crafts and circus skills, food, an all-age football match and the decoration of the fence with banners showing slogans like ‘Kick this fence out of our park’ and ‘Keep the pitch open to the community’.

“The emergency picnic at Cathkin Park was a huge success – groups of local concerned residents, young kids and families came together to say: no to the fence, we want to keep this park public and open for everyone to use, play and benefit from,” Tami Pein, local resident and one of the organisers of the picnic, said.

The Herald:

“We really hope we can work together as a community to make sure the park is accessible for all.”

Cathkin Blazes football team was set up in 2021 for women and non-binary people to play the game and socialise following the isolation of the pandemic.

Lucy Eskell, local resident and member of Cathkin Blazes football team, said: “As a member of Cathkin Blazes football team, I think it’s really important to have pitches accessible to the community and free of charge.

“The southside of Glasgow needs more accessible pitches, not less, so that outdoor sports can be truly inclusive and enjoyed by all.”

“I came down with my partner and my child because we wanted to support the Save Cathkin Park campaign,” Matt Barnes, local resident to Cathkin Park, added.

“Parks are really important to us, we live in a tenement flat on the second floor and our close garden is small and often not useable for our kids, so we come to the park to get free accessible space where they can run around and be healthy.

“We meet other parents here, they bring their kids so the kids get to socialise and it’s free.

“Having these spaces is really important.”

A spokesperson for the Jimmy Johnstone Academy said the fence protects the pitch from vandalism and the rest of the park is still open to the local public with no intention to further restrict access.



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