Homeless Plan for Burnbank House


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Mr Eric Steel, Head of Homeless Services for Glasgow City Council, addressed the April 7th meeting of Woodside Community Council. He confirmed that the residential home for the elderly currently in 25 Burnbank Gardens is being emptied of residents in preparation for its conversion to a homeless unit for up to 40 single men. The changeover is proposed for June 2014 and will be a temporary arrangement for two years until permanent new facilities are constructed in the north and south of the city.

Mr Steel confirmed that the proposed new residents would have a variety of backgrounds possibly including  alcohol or substance abuse and offenders released from prison. The City is currently unable to meet its statutory requirements for housing homeless people and the temporary use of Burnbank House is necessary. The facility when adapted would be managed by an outside agency probably in this case the Salvation Army.

It was pointed out to Mr Steel that all of the properties adjacent to the proposed homeless unit house elderly and vulnerable people and that insufficient adaptations are proposed to ensure their security. It was also noted by the police officers present at the meeting that all local and similar homeless units had in the past caused an increase in neighbourhood petty crime.  Your Community Council expressed dismay in general at these proposals and is to seek safeguards regarding security and has requested and been granted visits to other homeless units to view their management.

If you live in or near Burnbank Gardens and have a view on these proposals then please contact us with your opinion.





  1. Our street is full of families and young children. Think Titanic Zeppelin, we will never allow this to happen.
    Burnbank Gdns resident

  2. As a resident of Burnbank gardens who has a family with young daughters I was appalled to randomly discover the leaflet with this outrageous proposal above for Burnbank House, My fellow residents and i are incensed by this plan, June 2014!!! Consultation????? When does our voice get a look in? We live here! We will find out who is behind this preposterous plan. As someone who is proud of having socialist values, i believe in equality and rights for all; homeless people, rehabilitation of offenders, social integration etc, but this disgusting proposal to create a huge institution, opposite our houses is completely unacceptable and will not be allowed to go ahead, mark my words!
    Large containing institutions, multi-dormitory colonies of people in need of serious rehabilitation are a shameful bleak shadow of our victorian past, they do not work in any way, or value people…and will not be tolerated in our street. 2 yrs! …temporary!! My family and neighbours are in total shock that councillors could ever give credence to this appalling proposal….this is just the beginning!

    David McCluskey, 22 Burnbank Gardens, G20 6HD.

  3. I am appalled at this proposal. Firstly as the previous letter states units for 40 vulnerable men living together is abusive to everyone concerned. In this society it is unthinkable that this is even considered as a solution to help people who are already disadvantaged through their various circumstances. I know of no evidence that suggests that housing homeless people together in such large numbers has any therapeutic value.
    This is a street which houses a largely elderly population, the buildings both sides of Burnbank House cater for elderly people. This plan would increase their anxiety and feelings of being unsafe.
    The idea of it being a 2 year temporary plan is insulting, we all know that once such a facility is used it would be an ongoing facility.
    The fact that we have just been informed about a plan which is supposedly coming into effect in June is totally un democratic. Why were we not consulted at the planning stage. This seems a blatant plan to give the impression that we have no say about what happens in this street. A more respectful way would have been to hold consultation meetings with the residents.
    My hope now is that the residents will mobilise and make our voice heard.
    C Steverson, 28 Burnbank Gardens

    • Well said, lets not forget the young children living opposite as vulnerable, as well as elderly neighbours. Lets unite against this! D McC

  4. Forward of Email I have sent to Woodside community council

    > I live directly across from Burnbank house
    > I am upset to hear this news
    > I feel this would likely lead to more antisocial behaviour particularly in the communal garden area
    > Agree would likely lead to more crime in the area and being a car owner feel this may directly impact on me
    > I would be concerned on public safety at night given highlighted police concerns
    > I suspect this would have an impact on the communal garden on burnbank terrace which may discourage people from its use – dog walking etc
    > I would ask if there would be any attempt or possibility of protesting / petitioning this move or blocking it in its entirety?
    > Are there any guarantees on the time-scales reported for date and length of move?

    I addition I would like to add

    I current don’t work locally currently, but work as a GP in another area and given further consideration I wonder how local GPs would feel regarding the burden of care this proposal might place on them given social and health problems that can be associated with homeless, drug and alcohol problems.

    This in turn may have an impact on availability of GP care to other local residents, particularly those elderly and vulnerable people in adjacent buildings.

    It may be an idea to contact and seek an opinion from local practices

  5. we are totally shocked at this unit opening in our area we live at 26burnbank terrace all the residents against this should get together and voice our opinion

    • Absolutely, we will not let this happen in our street! Unite against this travesty. D MCCLUSKEY 22 Burnbank Gardens .

  6. To make ourselves heard on this, I think we need to make our opinions on this known to council as a group of residents. The next community council meeting is 2nd June but from what we know this is potentially too late. I think it would be useful to directly petition Eric Steel and Glasgow city council for a public meeting.

    Emma Wood

    20 burnbank gardens

    • Yes I agree, I have done this several times to Mr Steel with absolutely no response, we will not relent on this, Ready to share this story with my colleagues at Glasgow Herald, Scotsman, Daily Record.

      • I am looking into how to create a simple website and email address to co-ordinate our efforts. Burnbank action group??
        Anyone out there Have IT skills?

      • we the tenants in both Burnbank Terrace 23 & 26 and I would imagine Napiershall Street will be looking to get up some type of petition but firstly we have already contacted Ann McKechin
        and am now awaiting an e mail from her as to the letter that she has already issued to Councillor McElroy as regarding this. I really don,t think many people have this knowledge because we ourselves only found out yesterday and have several older tenants come to us really upset and not knowing what to do. We will receive this letter today and after reading will be better advised on our circumstances.
        Our older and more vulnerable tenants will have to be notified.There will have to be a meeting of some maybe 4 to 6 people to discuss the best way forward with this and we will have to have a meeting with theses people but it has to be with one voice.

        Joe and Nancy Cook

  7. I have been advised that the best and easiest way to communicate and combine our efforts is to create a Facebook page. What do you think? Using this council website may not the best way for us to co-ordinate this. This then keeps our email addresses private but everybody can access Facebook and see what is happening. Seems the simplest way of getting us all connected.

  8. I’d suggest a Facebook page is the easiest and most accessible way to do this, and perhaps set up a change.org petition?

  9. I have now set up a Facebook page. Please search for Burnbank Action Group and join. If we get a 100 likes it improves our profile.

  10. Are you willing to join the action group? You are invited to a meeting on Wednesday 28th May, 7pm in the Lecture Hall of Maryhill Community Hall. This meeting is to form the action group and plan the way forward.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    As well as being on Facebook,we now have a website, do keep up to date.

    • We the residents of Burnbank terrace feel that there can be no delay in taking action we have heard that the residents are already being moved out so that their plans can be implemented. Since findng out on Thursday of this ridiculous proposal and the underhanded way that it has been dealt with ,we have already mail shotted every resident in the Burnbank terrace and Napiershall street and the surrounding business community. We have formatted a petition of protest demanding a stop to these plans and a team from the community will be going door to door Sunday on 18th May collecting signatures We have spoken to Ann MckKechin who has in return e mailed us in letter that she has already passed this on to our local Councillor for his attention .
      In the background there has obviously been a lot of involvement with the exclusion of the most important people THE RESIDENTS. We are not letting them away with this

  11. My partner lives at number 16 and we too are appalled at this news. No consultation whatsoever. I have tweeted the former Glaswegian newspaper (now called Glasgow Now) and will continue to spread the word.

  12. I am totally against the use of Burbank gardens being used as a unit for homeless men there is enough muggings break ins etc in this area and although I admire the salvation army I don’t think they should run it. I am disabled and live alone. There are too many elderly sheltered houses in the area to condone these people living here. Where is the notification to local residents in the making of this proposal.

  13. Please see below for a copy of the email I have sent to our Councillors, MP, MSP and GCC.

    I live in Burnbank Gardens and have very recently been made aware of the proposal for a homeless unit at Burnbank House. I have the following questions and comments on this proposal.

    Our elected representatives are happy or confident from the visit that they made to the Chara Centre in Possilpark, that the proposed unit in Burnbank Gardens will be effectively managed. However, from the information available it would appear that The Chara Centre is a purpose built facility, presumably designed to meet the needs of the residents. The proposed unit in Burnbank Gardens is not purpose built & there is no information about how the complex needs of its vulnerable residents will be met.

    The Chara Centre offers accommodation to 26 residents, the proposed unit in Burnbank Gardens is offering accommodation to 40.

    The Chara Centre provides accommodation for women, the proposed unit in Burnbank Gardens is offering accommodation to 40 single men.

    On the basis of the above info, it is difficult to understand how any reasonable person could compare the position in Possilpark, with that proposed for Burnbank Gardens. And further, how any reasonable person could be happy or confident that such a comparison could be made.

    As very little information has been made available to local residents, even at this late stage, I have a number of questions.

    1. When was this proposal first mooted?

    2. At what stage were our elected representatives made aware of it?

    3. What steps did they take to ensure a thorough public consultation and information providing process was undertaken to ensure that the residents were in a position to make their views known?

    4. What is the proposed staffing ratio for the proposed unit?

    5. Will there be a key worker system at the proposed unit?

    6. How would a key worker system work if the plans are for residents to be transient, moving on after a short period?

    7. What prospect would there be of residents of this proposed unit receiving any kind of therapeutic help, or developing an investment in this area?

    8. What proposals are there for how these 40, single men would occupy themselves during the day? Burnbank Gardens has a communal garden, is it acceptable to local residents that this proposal may render the gardens a no-go area, due to disproportionately large numbers of vulnerable men?

    9. Local Police Officers have advised that all local and similar homeless units have caused an increase in neighbourhood petty crime. What steps have been taken to prevent this in a neighbourhood unaccustomed to, and unprepared for this problem?

    10. What provision is proposed for meeting the needs of the residents of the proposed unit, these vulnerable people who it has been indicated may have recently been released from prison, who may have alcohol & substance misuse issues, and where there also may be underlying metal health issues?

    11. Are local GPs and pharmacies fully informed about the influx of additional, disproportionate numbers to the area?

    12. What date has been set for a public meeting that needs to be held before any attempt is made to implement the proposed June date?

    The proposal is for temporary use of Burnbank House, however, as has already been suggested by a local resident, once a hostel is established, that situation is unlikely to change.

    All in all, this proposal is unreasonable and ill thought out and should never have seen the light of day. It is inconceivable how such a project has got to this stage without somebody with a degree of common sense putting a stop to it and taking it back to the drawing board, doing proper research, proper consultation, and arriving at the proper conclusion.

    I look forward to your early response, given the proposed timescale.

  14. I am utterly appalled and concur with most of the comments above. There are also a large number of women who live alone in this area where safety is of a primary concern. It is inconceivable that Glasgow West Housing Association were unaware of this proposal and as they own a huge amount of stock in Napiershall St/Burnbank Gardens, I have contacted them today to ask (a) when they knew about it (b) why they did not advise their tenants. I will be at the meeting on 28th May.

    22 Napiershall Street.

    • I have talked with Sandra White MSP , she is investigating , also she said Queens Cross Housing was not consulted , E Steel and Glasgow Council are behind this

  15. We seem to be sending e mails regarding this matter about how bitter we all are and the way it has all been handled . We the tenants of Queens x housing which is 23 no 26 and 12 Napiershall street have now a complete signed petition ready for presentation. We feel that it is very important that we get this in to the appropriate people immediately. ACTION IS NEEDED NOW TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

  16. As a resident of Burnbank Gardens for the last 28 years I am appalled that we have had no input in this matter and were not even informed by Glasgow West Housing who I believe have a duty to all residents.
    I will certainly be at meeting on 28th

    M Giel
    14 Burnbank Gardens

  17. I agree with all the comments above. It really is reprehensible that there has been no attempt at communicating this plan to the local residents, many of whom are elderly and vulnerable.

    It was by chance that last night (20th May 2014) I heard about this plan from a neighbour and can only speculate as to why Glasgow West Housing Association and other HA’s in the area have not been in touch with their residents?

    However, we will be attending the meeting next week in the hope that together we can prevent this travesty from happening.

    J McKie & G Anderson
    Burnbank Gardens

  18. see e-mail sent by E Steel

    Dear Mr Prasher,

    Burnbank House

    Thank you for your correspondence of 14th May.

    Our proposal is to use Burnbank for a temporary period for individual males who are homeless and for whom the Council has a statutory duty. Please note the following by way of context and work undertaken to date.

    The Council faces an ongoing challenge in securing an adequate supply of accommodation, available at the point of need for homeless applicants. Capital funding has been approved for two purpose built units in the North and South of the City to assist in meeting the Council’s statutory obligations. The service will provide supported accommodation for clients who are homeless and will be staffed 24/7 to ensure residents are fully supported.

    The proposed use of Burnbank House is being considered as an interim measure for around 2 years, pending the completion of the new build development in the North of the City at Rodney Street, and this will help alleviate the current accommodation pressures experienced in the city.

    Since briefing of elected members in late March, Social Work Services has developed a comprehensive engagement strategy in relation to the proposal.

    In early April, contact was made with Woodside Community Council, Glasgow Community Safety, Community Police, Glasgow Life, local Housing Associations, and Homelessness and Health Leads for the area, and meetings have since taken place with the majority of these organisations to inform the community and key stakeholders about the proposal, and to address any questions and concerns raised.

    We are currently working with the Community Council to organise an open event where local people can come along, express their views, and ask any questions. This is scheduled for June 4th and we will ask for the attendance of local stakeholders particularly the Police, Community Safety and the service provider to explain all parts of the proposal.

    It is our intention, prior to occupying the property, to increase visibility and security of the building and surrounding areas, by upgrading existing lighting to the front and rear of the building, as well as installing CCTV both internally and externally.

    We will continue to work closely with Community Safety and Community Policing to ensure there is no negative impact on the local residents and ensure safety and wellbeing of all.

    The proposed use of Burnbank House is strictly on an interim basis, and the intention is to dispose of the building on completion of the Rodney Street development. At this point we would declare the building surplus to our requirements as a Social Work Service.

    I hope you will be able to attend the open meeting scheduled for 4th June. If an individual meeting would be helpful please let me know.

    I trust this is helpful.

    Yours sincerely

    Eric Steel
    Head of Homelessness Services
    Glasgow City Council

    • This is all nonsense, contrary to your statement above there has been no “comprehensive engagement strategy in relation to this proposal”
      Who’s responsibility is it to inform the residents of this street and community?
      So, is the June 4th meeting the ‘consultation’? This cannot be termed as consultation if the decision for Burnbank House has already been finalised.

  19. GWHA was informed of this decision on 23 April 2014…not early April as outlined in Mr Steel’s email above. Also, there was no ‘comprehensive engagement…..proposal’ only an email outlining a decision as far as I can tell. (GWHA tenant, Napiershall St)

  20. We’ve started the petition “Glasgow City Council: Halt the plan to turn Burnbank House into a Homeless Unit” and need your help to get it off the ground.

    Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:


    You can also access it through our Facebook page and our website.
    Here’s why it’s important:

    The House is situated on a residential street between 2 Housing blocks for the Elderly.
    The houses opposite are family homes with children of all ages.
    There has been no consultation with local residents.
    The plan has increased anxiety within the whole area.
    A house to accommodate 40 homeless men is not a therapeutic solution, purpose built smaller units are a better model.
    You can sign our petition and add your voice

    Burnbank Action Group

  21. Entirely unsuitable situation for such a large -scale hostel. The communal gardens will become a no go area for existing residents. You must be well aware of the impact that this would have on this community in terms of safety, crime and peace in the area. To have organised such a plan with no consultation with those whose quality of life is going to be impacted must surely be illegal as well as unjust. Nobody will benefit from a project on this scale

    Louise Holland,
    Burnbank Gardens

  22. The main worry is ,that as it is the police cant cope with the problems we have in the communal gardens.already it is a magnet for people with obvious problems -drinking and fighting and since they have been hanging around theres no way that we would think about using the gardens.despite the fact that drinking in public is illegal the police seem to be toothless so what protection are they going to provide?what we dont need are more substance abusers in such large numbers.

  23. I have now just heard of these proposals (leaflet thru door) and although I do not live in Burnbank Gdns but very close. I am shocked regarding the homeless unit, as said in previous comments there are a lot of very young children in the area and of course pensioners. A word of hope to all this will affect. A few years ago in Holyrood Cres it was proposed to convert a townhouse into a backpackers hostel it did not get the go ahead due to the amount of opposition by residents. I am sure that if everyone in the vicinity raises an objection these plans will be scrapped

  24. I will be at the meeting tonight. If we don’t all go then we have to sit back and let others take over the area. I lived near the Homeless Unit in Paisley Rd West. It was a nightmare. See you tonight!
    If you cannot make the meeting – then please write to the letters column of the Evening Times supporting the front page article on the 26th May. I will bring a few posters tonight for businesses in the area. This will affect a huge area.
    Ashby McGowan
    12 Napiershall Street

  25. If this was not so serious I would actually laugh, the talk of socialist values and integration in society, but just not your micro society. I totally agree that large institutions do not help those who require quality support to positively live in the community and realised their full potential. However, to tar all of these people as problems to your community how about actually supporting them and acknowledging they have not chosen the position they have found themselves in as Mr Cameron and his liberal partners would have us believe.
    I do not agree with the development of a residential homeless unit in Burnbank, however, this is not due to the ideas of “problem people” as many on here have branded them but more to do with the displacement of the older adults from the 40 bed residence in which they have lived and called home! There are serious consequences for older adults being moved from their home and community which is well documented in psychosocial research regarding attachment to geographical place. Which no-one here seams too bothered about, not so concerned about vulnerable residents moving out are we???
    Maybe if your group was a little more forward thinking and valuing of the vulnerable in your community, whilst exercising your socialist values you could have fought for better conditions and refurbishment of the older peoples’ homes. This would also have the desired effect of keeping the ‘Undeserving’ as you plainly see them out of your precious community.
    Unfortunately I was unaware of your meeting tonight 28th otherwise I would have attended.

    • you are entitled to your opinion and all of us are disgusted by moving the elderly and are addressing and protesting this , however the main point is the safety of the elderly who live here , no one is putting down the homeless far from it , it is public safety and the councils railroading this through with out consulting anyone .
      I have lived next to a hostel and there was real problems with drug taking and crime .
      please come to the next meeting and voice your concerns , there is a facebook page .

  26. In reply to above, Pity You were not at the Burnbank Action Group 1st meeting last night, i wonder if you would have laughed there with 120 local residents in rage at this proposal. Really hope you can make the next meeting and get your opinion heard.
    Social conscience… See this quote from an active neighbour;
    “After the meeting someone pointed out that there was some negative correspondence in the Evening Times in response to the piece they did. It seems the feeling was that we are a posh west end lot who don’t care about the homeless. The reality is anything but; we live in Kelvinbridge or Maryhill – depending on who you talk to and most of us have a strong social conscience. The majority of residents are tenants of GWHA and Queens Cross Housing Associations. What is true is that we are a deeply concerned community who are a mix of elderly, disabled, single women, families with children and some very vulnerable people. We don’t want 40 homeless men with seriously complex issues; problems primarily involving alcohol, drugs as well as ex-prisoners. We have rights too. We have the right to live in a safe and secure environment. If you agree, then please do email/write to the Evening Times and make your feelings known”.

    “Overwhelmed by number of residents attending tonight’s first meeting of burnbank action group! Over 100 residents gathered to voice their concerns and discuss how we take out campaign to halt the councils decision forward’.

  27. Is there any truth in this conversation I overheard recently. These people are being moved from their current place I believe is in the East End due to the fact that they are not wanted in this area because of the Commonwealth Games?????

  28. We deplore the diktat from the the City Council regarding Burnbank House. To set up such a homeless unit in the middle of such a concentration of vulnerable people beggars belief. To arrive at such a decision without consultation with local people is typical of the highhanded and autocratic attitude of the city council and it’s bureaucrats to the people they are supposed to represent.

  29. Hello,
    unfortunately, my husband or me couldn’t attend the meetings, but we share the same concern as many of the people who commented above. I can’t agree more with the statement in the leaflet about the Burnbank communal gardens already being unsafe place at times. Although it is just across the road from our flat, we would hardly ever go there to play with my young daughter. I don’t believe the situation would get better with the addition of 40 people, many of whom, I believe, are unemployed and have a lot of spare time.
    I also would like to add, having 40 single men sharing the same building doesn’t seem to be the best idea to help them integrate into the society. A large group like that would have an impact on any living area, regardless of the part of the city and I think it is only natural for people to worry what impact it would be.

  30. These plans have been railroaded through without any consultation with the residents who live in the area. Who does Mr Steele think he is. He obviously thinks that because the area is predominately
    elderly and infirm that we would be a pushover. THINK AGAIN MR STEELE

  31. This is a disgrace there is poor OAP in Burbank gardens and surrounding areas all this will be is a disaster waiting to happen someone has to stop this now no harm to the homeless but this is the wrong place and area can you imagine what will happen to the beautiful gardens in burnbank!!!!!!!

    • The deals been done…The bedding and furniture were ordered weeks ago..The savation army will be running the project………………

      • I believe the GCC Social Work Dept would like to think it’s a ‘done deal’ and, hopefully, will have been surprised at the strength of feeling from the residents. The above is a pretty negative comment – regardless of what they have in place it can be dispersed in a more suitable location. Would the above contributor be willing to say how they are aware of what has been ordered? Until the recent meetings it was only speculation as to who would be running the hostel, by all accounts from the meeting this week the Salvation Army are struggling in the management of hostels. As recommended at the Woodside meeting (and the Burnbank Action Group) everyone should sign the petition, write to their MSP’s and be as vocal as possible. This is by no means a ‘done deal’. J McKie

        • Can’t say… But believe me this deal is done and dusted… By all means protest … The best you”‘ll get is a token concession …. And the Salvation Army are 100’% Behind this …..ask then….

  32. Nonsense, we’ve heard this negative unfounded drivel throughout, check your sources, the Salvation army have no authority and are not residents like us and we won’t let this happen believe us, Watch this space.

    • I”m afraid your comment isn’t relevant. It will happen,,, no matter what. ,,,, so what will you do?….march ? Protest to who? It’s done and there is nothing you can do about it. Except move maybe,,,,,,

  33. May I request that ‘a friend’ (dubious) contact the Burnbank Action group to divulge in private, if need be, how they can be so certain that this will go ahead?

    GM’s comment is relevant and has as much veracity as yours.

    Anyone who believes in transparency and accountability from public servants have a right to question a proposal which was neither transparent – no consultation with residents. Or, accountable – they already have the Salvation Army pencilled in as managers, which would be convenient as these hostels, historically, raise levels of crime in whatever area they are place. Easy then to blame another organisation when it all goes pear shaped.

    Finally, if our predecessors felt like you, there would be no democracy in this country – acheved by protesting and marching.

    I applaud everyone to date who has attended meetings, distributed leaflets and raised the media profile – may it continue – until we overturn this ridiculous, ill-concieved proposal.

    • I walked around the area last week what did I see..one solitary poster highlighting the protest.. As much as I admire the efforts of the locals in their attempt to overturn this ill conceived plan..they must up their protests .get into the streets marches banners get the public on your side .look what happened with the red road flats ….but for goodness sake do it now don’t wait on local politicians resolving the issue..it won’t happen do it yourselves a d do it now….

  34. i am amazed at this, i have seen homeless units in other areas and they generally result in a reduction in the quality of the local environment. More people hanging around, more police circulating , more begging. How often have we heard that temporary solutions become more permanent than originally envisaged. What are our so called local elected representatives doing about this ???

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