This is a brief blog to note the fact that Glasgow City Council has advertised for lease 2.7 hectares of former playing fields in Victoria Park, Glasgow (top left in picture above and Rydens brochure here). The closing date for offers is 12 noon on 26 September 2014.

From the evidence I have seen, this park, which was acquired by the Town Council of Partick in 1887, appears to be inalienable common good land. A lease for a period of around 10 years or more would constitute a “disposal” for the purposes of Section 75(2) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and thus require the approval of the Courts before it could be executed.

The Friends of Victoria Park group has raised this matter with Glasgow City Council on 8 September 2014 and awaits a response.

The law relating to common good is in serious need of modernisation. If this land in Victoria Park is indeed inalienable common good land then the City Council will be acting unlawfully if it attempts to lease it out on a lengthy lease.


  1. What’s the evidence which suggests it’s CG?

    • The title deeds.

      • Aye, but as you know Andy, title deeds are seldom by themselves conclusive as to CG status. What is it about the title deeds of Victoria Park which makes you think it’s CG?

        • What is the wording in the title deeds & the history of the acquisition…it seems that it is necessary to look at both to attempt to ascertain whether or not land in the ownership of a council is “common good” land.

  2. It s the Portobello Park issue all over again.

  3. This park was already decimated when a so-called ring-road carved it up. I remember it well as a beautiful, busy park, with its famous fossil grove. I am against the sell-off, but as a council gardener I know how desperately hard pressed the parks departments are and as it’s not a statutory duty for councils we’re high on the list for cuts.

  4. Not just Portobello Park. See Cowan Park, Barrhead. There appears to be a pattern of councils trying to use up common good park land. Just goes to show how undervalued local parks have become. Lack of investment and cuts to funding appears to be any old excuse for local councils to offload their park land in return for leasing agreements and shedding their responsibility to maintain.

    • Tony – Cowan Park is almost certainly not common good, contrary to popular belief. In any event, the proposals for Cowan Park involve the Council returning an equivalent investment in park land so there’s no question of “shedding responsibility to maintain”.

  5. I should add that this park already lost land in 50s/60s to make way for new motorway at east end of park

  6. Neil,
    Why did you not tell Lord Tyne this before he ruled it common good land?
    Would have saved a lot of time.

    • Paul – it’s important to understand that Lord Tyre did *not* rule that Cowan Park is common good. East Renfrewshire Council went into court admitting (wrongly IMO) that it was CG and Lord T made a ruling on that footing.

      • I authorise and empower my trustees in their sole and exclusive discretion, either themselves to expend, in all the sum of Ten thousand pounds Sterling exclusive of legacy and other Government duty, in the purchase of land in a suitable locality, in or in the vicinity of the Burgh of Barrhead, and enclosing and laying off the same in such manner as they deem appropriate, and in, providing for its future maintenance, as a public park, to be designated “The Cowan Park” for the use and enjoyment of the inhabitants of that Burgh in time coming, under such regulations as my trustees deem necessary and proper, and to dispone, convey and make over the same to the Municipal Corporation of said Burgh, to be held by them in perpetuity for the purpose foresaid

        Does that not meet the test Neil? Genuinely interested in your reason for disagreeing with ERC position that it was Common Good

        • Deebel, if the park were common good, the words you quote would elevate it to *inalienable* common good. But they don’t make it CG in the first place. (And you can’t have inalienable “non-CG”.) If the park is not CG, the restrictions in the documentation ceased to be enforceable (as a matter of law if not politics) upon the abolition of feudal tenure in 2004.

          As to why I believe Cowan Park is not CG, if you click on my name above this comment, it will take you to a blog I wrote on the subject.

  7. Thanks for the information Andy, keep up the good work.

  8. If LVT/LRV were legislated for, it would oblige local authorities up and down the country to find out the status of all the land in their area.

  9. leave it alone there is enough commercial space in Glasgow we need the parks

  10. I remember playing on that land in the 60’s and 70’s. 2 full sized pitches and one baby one. Each with permanent goals. Is it still used for football?

  11. The council will get away with breaking the law and ignore all protests as they did with waterfoot park in East Renfrewshire where they built houses on the only park available for kids. Unless you have money to take them to court.

  12. what law are the Council breaking Tom.