A GLASGOW community “stripped of its services” is looking for answers after contractors recently moved in to bulldoze a renowned public facility that shut eight years ago. 

Drumchapel residents say that the area was blighted after the closure of The Mercat House and the Golden Garter in 2013. 

The Glasgow Times understands that a decision was taken to pull the shutters down after suspected asbestos was found within the building at Hecla Square.

Since then, locals argue that they have been left in the dark over any potential developments that could see the valued space reopened to the community. 

Glasgow Times:

Now, after witnessing teams move in to erect fencing around the building as part of demolition plans, outraged residents have hit out at council bosses over a lack of consultation. 

Andrew Lynch, chairman of Drumchapel Community Council, said: “The community has lost a huge resource. Once it is demolished, it is going to change the landscape of Drumchapel as we know it - these buildings have been here for a lifetime. 

“We have been asking questions about what will happen with the buildings for five years now and nobody has been giving us any answers. 

“We don’t know what is going to happen next or what the facility will be used for or if it will even be utilised for the community. 

“The only thing we have been told is that the buildings are set for demolition and that asbestos is to blame, but we are doubting that.”

Glasgow Times: Andrew LynchAndrew Lynch

The Glasgow Times understands that the vacant site - which once operated as a dance hall, theatre, bar and community cafe - has received no interest from the market. 

Drumchapel Community Council has recently been holding a public consultation with residents to gather opinions and ideas for a community hub. 

The group has been inundated with responses and queries relating to the future of The Mercat House. 

Glasgow Times:

Tracy McKenzie, member of the community council, said: “They want to see it in the hands of locals again and used locally. 

“Most of those that took part in the survey want to see it rebuilt as a community resource for the people. There has been no communication over what is going to happen next. 

“Last week, we just saw a fence put up outside with no explanation. 

“People are rightfully angry and disgusted, there is nothing to do anymore in Drumchapel. Every scheme once had somewhere to go to where the community could come together but it has all been closed down. 

“There is no community asset here at all in Drumchapel.” 

In the last 15 years, the area has saw services such as the Drumchapel Adventure Group (DRAG), the Waverley Neighbourhood Centre, the Linwood Tenants Hall, the Argo Centre and the Unemployed Workers Centre either shut down or relocated. 

Drumchapel Community Council believes that in order to curb unemployment and crime rates, residents need services reinstated “that will give locals something to do”. 

Glasgow Times:

Mr Lynch said: “The last 15 years have been a blight on Drumchapel – we have lost neighbourhood centres, tenants hall and youth centres. All the services that once helped to improve lives and give people a social life have been stripped from us. 

“They want to know what will happen next with the facility and if it will involve the community. If we want to curb drug addictions and crime, we need community services and projects that will give locals something to do. 

“The services that once gave people a reason to go out and be socially interactive have all gone and not everybody has access to the internet. We can tell people are suffering."

Labour representative, Paul Carey, revealed he was disappointed with the local authority’s plans for the empty building. 

He said: “I’m so disappointed that the council has not consulted the community council group on their plans for the Mercat. 

“It appears that the workmen have just turned up and fenced it off with no one knowing what is happening. 

“They have not consulted the community council on this so how does this approach fit in with the community engagement act?

“Once again it appears that as far as the council are concerned, this act is not worth the paper it is written on.”

Although the space hasn’t been used for several years, the community believes it still holds the potential to be brought back into public use. 

They fear that without more public services, people will begin to move away from the area.

Glasgow Times:

Mr Lynch added: “Nobody seems to be fighting and nobody seems to care for our facilities. 

“Locals need hope and want to see a plan in place so they have a reason to stay here. The danger is, is that people will pack up and leave.  

“We want to grow our community here but we can’t sustain it if there is nothing to do. It needs a bit of life injected into it. 

“We are extremely disappointed that we have had no answers in the last five years. We feel lost in a way and as though nobody cares or has a vision for Drumchapel. 

“Although it hasn’t been used for a number of years now, it still has a lot of potential. We want answers on what will happen next.

“It is time the council began to give something back to the people instead of taking away from them.”

Glasgow City Council said that work is currently ongoing to establish a community hub facility in the area.

A spokesperson said: “Drumchapel has been listed amongst the six priority areas within Glasgow for the creation of a Community Hub facility.  

“Drumchapel is a large and complex neighbourhood, and work to plan and prepare for the creation of a community hub there is ongoing.”

City Property - who currently maintain the site - said that bulldozers will move in to flatten the building as it has reached the end of its economic life. 

Glasgow Times:

A spokesperson said: “CPGI has taken the decision to demolish the subjects as they have reached the end of their functional/economic life with CPGI incurring substantial void holding costs which it is seeking to mitigate via demolition.   

"The subjects have lain vacant for a significant period of time with no interest from the market."