GLASGOW City Council is under growing pressure following increasing calls for a vacant development site to be used for social housing.

At a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the sale of vacant land on Collina Street in Maryhill on Tuesday evening, representatives from the Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour urged the council to reconsider its original plans to sell to private developers.

Living Rent along with Wyndford Tenants Union, have been leading the fight against the controversial plans to sell the land to private developers for a mixture of social rent and owner occupier housing.

Campaigner Norman Cunningham said, “We heard from the council last night who told us that this site is going to be very difficult to develop [for profit]. Well in that case, let’s give the community a chance. There are any number of existing community-based successful social housing schemes.

The union will be starting a community consultation to gather views on how the land should be used after claiming that the community's views have not been listened to.

READ MORE: Protest over private sale of former Maryhill scheme The Valley

Agreeing with the move, Pauline McNeill Labour regional MSP for Glasgow said: “It’s for local members to take the lead on this but I am quite clear that land set aside for social housing should be for social housing.

"For me it’s about building communities and not simply about building homes. I would support communities having much more of a say generally on how the land gets used.”

“The pandemic has greatly exacerbated Scotland’s housing crisis.

“With thousands stuck in substandard accommodation, it is vital that we see an expansion in new social housing in Glasgow.

“Having a roof over your head and a place to call home is a right, not a luxury. It’s time for action to be taken to prioritise the building of social housing and I call on Glasgow City Council to review their decision.”

Glasgow Times: Pauline McNeill, Labour regional MSP for GlasgowPauline McNeill, Labour regional MSP for Glasgow

Echoing the calls for the land to be used for social housing, fellow city MSP Patrick Harvie from the Scottish Greens said:"When you have long standing transformational regeneration plans made many years ago it means that things will have changed in terms of the use of the land and also things will have changed in terms of the attitudes of the communities.

"So you need to keep asking people if they still support what was decided a long time ago. It’s pretty clear that they don’t.”

Glasgow Times: Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens regional MSP for GlasgowPatrick Harvie, Scottish Greens regional MSP for Glasgow

Scottish Labour candidate for the Maryhill and Springburn constituency, Keiran O'Neill, who is hoping to unseat incumbent MSP Bob Doris said: “I agree with Living Rent’s principle of restorative justice.

"I think if land was previously for social housing then it should be prioritised for it. I don’t think this policy has kept pace with reality.

"The perseverance of local residents in Maryhill shows the strength of feeling so going forward, you guys need to be in the driving seat.

"There is a real social housing need, particularly in the Wyndford.We need more affordable and more accessible homes.”

Glasgow Times: Keiran O'Neill, Scottish Labour candidate for Maryhill and SpringburnKeiran O'Neill, Scottish Labour candidate for Maryhill and Springburn

The meeting also heard from Mr Doris who currently represents the area in the Scottish Parliament.

Appearing the support the council’s plans, he said: “I need to be clear, I would like to see additional low cost home ownership as part of the housing mix.

"I would love to see more social housing there but the key to make that happen is we have to get this project as part of the social housing investment plan fund - that’s how the money comes.

"Lets see what bids come in on Friday but I think the council should continue speaking to Living Rent and I think we should try and find a way forward.

"But I would also make the point that there is a finite amount of money for social housing. We need the caveat that it can’t be buy to let and that it’s for first time buyers.”

A spokesman from Glasgow City Council said: “The Collina Street site is one integral part of a community-led masterplan that has been successful in attracting new development into the area. The masterplan is promoting a ‘mixed tenure’ and ‘tenure blind’ approach to new development. Transforming Communities Glasgow Ltd, which controls the site, is happy to discuss its community-led proposals with any interested parties.”