Many across the city will have been aware of the increasing anti-social behaviour on the Meadows in recent weeks. This has been an issue of great concern to many residents in the local area but it is not a new issue. As someone who lives on the Meadows, I know these issues are years old and have simply been exacerbated by Covid-19 and lockdown measures.
It also must be stated that it involves only a small minority of people.
In light of the most recent incidents – which resulted in the hospitalisation of a Police officer – Daniel Johnson MSP and I convened a meeting of local stakeholders to try to find solutions. It was an extremely constructive meeting where we discussed the lack of access to toilets on the Meadows, the Police response, and what actions the Council could take. You can watch the recording of the livestream on Daniel’s Facebook: @DanielJohnsonMSP.
Meadows action plan
- Deputy Leader of the Council, Cammy Day agreed to take forward plans to get temporary toilets erected on the Meadows which I know has been a local concern for some time. These were voted through by Councillors last week and I’m pressing for these to be installed urgently.
- The Police have also committed to a larger presence, alongside dedicated patrols throughout the day and evening, the deployment of CCTV vans and a recommitment to hand out fixed penalty notices for offences such as littering and violation of coronavirus legislation. Many will have seen a much larger Police presence during recent weeks which I am confident has helped significantly.
- Local youth services will also be operating in the Meadows which is fantastic news.
The issue of residents’ gardens and lanes being used as public toilets is still a problem and I am pressing both the council and police to take a more proactive approach to dealing with this problem.
This is an issue that many local residents have strong feelings about. I am acutely aware that any response needs to be proportionate. The vast majority of people, including young people, come to the Meadows and enjoy it peacefully within the confines of the law. The Meadows is a place for us all of us and that must continue.