In the middle of the Maryhill and Springburn constituency is Possilpark. At the heart of Possilpark is Saracen Street.

Local traders, housing and community organisations are focused on a plan to improve the main street and make it a more attractive place for local people and to attract others to live in the area.

Plans include a Business Improvement District which was curtailed by the pandemic but is now firmly back on track.

It would see a uniform shop front programme to restore a stylish heritage look to the street. Other work on street lighting, installing trees and planters, making better use of public space and better management of commercial waste are all in the plans.

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Jackie Shearer is the BID co-ordinator. She said: “Traders want to improve the street. NG Homes started the talks and devised plans for a BID, then in March last year we had to park it with the pandemic. We still had emerging BID status but the focus turned to helping people with food and other supplies.

“We are ready to go back to where we were.”

She added: It is a unique BID here. It is a business and community model. It is a high street that is particular to the community. Others are about visitors, this is about community.”

NG Homes, one of the biggest housing associations in the wider area, has led the regeneration efforts with the ‘Remaking Saracen’ vision to promote a shop local campaign.

Margaret Fraser, head of regeneration at NG Homes, said for the last year Covid has been the main focus. She said: “We have got to know people better. There has been a lot of support in the community. In Possilpark people care about each other.”

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Local independent businesses said they want to see the main street improved.

Karen Carlisle, has owned Florist Gump flower shop in Saracen Street for eight years.

She said: “We need the streets to be cleaned up and brighten up the main street. There is a plan to do the shop fronts which will be good.

“If we did something to stop people parking all day it would help the shops then people could stop for a little while, got o the shops and then move on, instead of people taking the spaces all day.”

Stacy Thomson owns Stacy’s Barbers across the street. She said: “It could be cleaner. The people are good people but the place needs tidied up.”

Mustapaha Alaseel of Baghdad Bakery said Possilpark is improving.

He said: “We have had the shop for five years and every year it gets better.

“I would like to see all the shops the same colour that would make the street look better. I think that is to happen.”

Queen Cross Housing Association has plans for hundreds of homes at Hamiltonhill, which has been mostly derelict land for more than 10 years.

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Shona Stephen, Chief Executive of the Queens Cross Group, said: “Over the next five years the Group will target resources at building and sustaining better neighbourhoods, creating greater life opportunities for local people and developing greener spaces and healthier communities.

“Providing safe, attractive neighbourhoods with well-designed and well managed homes is the cornerstone of any community.

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“Helping to facilitate employment opportunities locally has never been more important as we come out of pandemic lockdown. We have a crucial role to play in helping sustain and create jobs as our community unlocks and starts to recover from the constraints it has been under for the past 12 months.

“By 2025 we want to finish the transformation of the area and make our neighbourhoods places people are choosing to live and work.”

We asked the candidates for Maryhill and Springburn their priorities.

Bob Doris, SNP

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“I have been a dedicated and hard-working local MSP assisting over 10,000 constituents since 2016.

“My work with the community on local regeneration helped secure the demolition of the Talisman Pub and investment in community facilities; including at Roystonhill Community Hub and Possilpoint.

“The SNP has delivered new social housing including at Milton, Cadder, Ruchill and Maryhill. We have plans for a further 100,000 affordable homes including investment at Cowlairs, Hamiltonhill and Gilshochill.

“The SNP’s new Scottish social security system is helping many people locally and we will take further action, increasing and extending the Scottish Child Payment and Carers Allowance Supplement. We will support families by delivering wrap-around childcare and further extending free school meals. This will make a real and practical difference to the communities I represent.

“With an additional £2.5b earmarked for the NHS, major investment planned to tackle our climate emergency and action on jobs, including a Young Persons Job Guarantee, I am focussed on helping our communities recover from Covid-19. However we also need the full powers of Independence to put our recovery fully in Scotland’s hands. I am also the only candidate who supports Scotland’s right to choose in a new Independence referendum.”

Keiran O'Neill Labour:

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He said: "This is the place I am proud to call home, but it is being forgotten about and badly let down. Whether this is Maryhill Library which is now under threat because our city has been robbed of more than £350 million pounds after more than a decade of austerity, or the Caley workers who were abandoned by our Government, ending hundreds of well-paid and highly-skilled jobs in Springburn. I am fed up of politicians telling my neighbours that we have to wait for things to get better. We deserve so much better than that. That is why I am standing to serve this community. Anas Sarwar has launched our National Recovery Plan which is our routemap to a better and fairer country as we rebuild from the pandemic. That means obsessing with the eradication of child poverty, relentlessly focusing on creating well-paid jobs for all and making sure our precious NHS is invested in so we never again have to chose between treating a virus or treating cancer. We need a fresh start in North Glasgow and that is why I urge voters to put their trust in me and make it both votes Labour on May 6th."

Alix Mathieson, Conservatives:

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She said: “Voters in Maryhill and Springburn have a stark choice at this election. You can either vote for me and the Scottish Conservatives to guarantee a Parliament that will be 100% focused on our recovery or it is back to the politics of division and another independence referendum with the SNP.

“After the devastating effects of the pandemic, we must focus all our energy on rebuilding our communities. This campaign has been different with the restrictions on campaigning but engaging with voters it is clear they don’t want to be divided again.

“They want to focus on their jobs and livelihoods. They are worried about their children’s education, they want to tackle the backlog in our health service and want Glasgow City Council fairly funded.

“As a small business owner and a volunteer with many organisations I have been acutely aware of the challenges facing the area over the last year and I want to be at the forefront of helping them recover.

“If you want to focus on a recovery from Covid and not another referendum, then you must vote for me in the constituency vote and for the Scottish Conservatives on your party list ballot paper.”

Andrew Chamberlain Libderal Democrats:

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The Liberal Democrats said: “Andrew has been campaigning steadily in the local area since 2019 when he organised the local Lib Dem European Election campaign. This saw the party beat both Labour and the Conservatives locally for the first time since the 1980s.

"Prior to moving to Glasgow, Andrew was elected as Scotland’s youngest Liberal Democrat councillor in 2007. He went on to lead his Council group and represent the Council on COSLA. He has also worked as a copywriter and journalist.

"Andrew’s priorities for Maryhill and Springburn include investing in green transport links and infrastructure, giving young people a jobs guarantee and making the investments needed to get our education system back on track.

Mr Chamberlain  said, “Thousands of people in Maryhill and Springburn are hampered in getting jobs by inadequate transport links to the rest of Glasgow. Meanwhile, the pandemic has created a hugely difficult jobs market for young people and school age children have seen their education disrupted. The Scottish Liberal Democrats have positive proposals to tackle all of these issues by re-opening train lines, giving young people a jobs guarantee and investing in more teachers. That’s why I’m proud to advocate that local people should give both of their votes to the Liberal Democrats.”