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2 May 2018, 06:00
Slum Conditions In Govanhill, Glasgow As Residents Demand Action
People living in one of Scotland's poorest communities have told Heart the slum conditions have hit rock bottom.
Pictures and videos from Govanhill in Glasgow reveal the new scale of squalor with blocks of flats overrun with rats, cockroaches and bed bugs.
Locals in the area, which is in SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon's constituency, are demanding the First Minister 'gets her act together' and deal with filthy conditions and vermin infestations.
The new shocking footage, which you can see at the top of this page, shows piles of rubbish, rotting food and even human waste.
Residents say they've been asking for help for years and claim Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly promised she will address the issue.
There are also claims broken and missing banisters are a death trap for children.
Margaret, who lives in the area, says the scenes in the stairwells and back courts of some buildings are stomach-churning.
She said: "The filth...properties should be bulldozed, bins are overflowing, causing rats and mice. I would say the majority of houses in Govanhill are infested.
"Nothing seems to be getting binned. And if they are the bins are overflowing. It is just awful.
"We are getting a message from GHA (Govanhill Housing Association) saying they are going to teach people how to live in a close. That to me seems to be the most stupid thing ever. You don't need to teach people how to use a bin, surely?"
A spokesman from Glasgow City Council said: "This is an unacceptable situation. It is clearly the responsibly of the residents to dispose of their rubbish appropriately. We will be looking in to this with the aim of taking further action".
Joe Beaver, from the Govanhill Community Campaign, said: "The houses are falling apart. The stairs and closes are falling apart and there is human faeces. Who the hell would do the toilet in the communal court of homes?
"People shouldn't live in these flats. These places should be knocked down because people don't want to live in this. You don't want to go near it"
Campaigners are calling for a public meeting between police, the council and Govanhill Housing Association.
A spokesperson for the SNP said: "The First Minister is closely engaged with issues in the area - her constituency office is situated in the heart of Govanhill and she holds regular surgeries and meetings for local people.
"Govanhill, like many areas, faces specific challenges and it is important that all sections of the community are included and involved in addressing those challenges."
Scottish Conservative equalities spokesman Annie Wells MSP said: “These images are utterly shocking, and it’s unacceptable that anyone in Scotland should have to live in these conditions.
“This clearly demonstrates the SNP’s total inability to address the causes of poverty - even when it’s in Nicola Sturgeon’s own constituency.
“Those living in Govanhill can only hope that this acts as a wake up call to the SNP as it shows that that their current approach to tackling poverty isn’t working.”
Tenant, local resident and chair of the Govanhill Housing Association John McLardie says:
"Govanhill Housing Association is one of many landlords in Govanhill and as such, works hard alongside the wider community and Glasgow City Council to improve the local environment. This has included promoting specific collections and increased inspections which to date has proven successful in most areas.
"The Association is also pro-actively tackling poor quality housing conditions in the private sector through our South West Govanhill Buy and Repair Scheme which involves our buying, repairing, letting and then managing some of the poorest quality housing properties in a target area of tenement blocks.
"We have not been formally contacted by the Govanhill Community Campaign around this video footage; however, we do not recognise this as being a common area of a close belonging to the Association. We welcome more information so that we can assist in dealing with the issues shown."
And a spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: "Environmental Health visited these premises and found the back court to be in an unacceptable condition.
"Enforcement notices have now been served against the owners at this address and they now have five days to clear up the mess on their property.
"We would always encourage people to raise issues with us directly about the condition or management of property in the Govanhill area which will enable us to take prompt action.
"Significant additional resources have been invested in Govanhill, which is a high priority area for the City Government. We are seeing clear signs of improvement in Govanhill, reflected in a reduction in complaints
we are receiving.
"Challenges remain and a small number of addresses continue to be the source of persistent problems but they are very clearly on our radar for future action."