Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Bletchley Park is at war – and it’s not historic, it’s current

A few years ago, Bletchley Park was struggling for recognition and funds.

Now, it is has become quite well-known as having been Station X during World War II, the place when Britain’s codebreakers worked to successfully defeat various German methods of encryption, with Enigma probably being the most widely known, although many other system were defeated there.

Bletchley Memorial

Bletchley Memorial 2013 © Roger Davies via geograph
The memorial consists of two slabs of Caithness stone one with the wording ‘We also served’ and the other with a sculpted list of 25 of the some 300 outstations that existed across the globe

While the immediate risks to the various building that make up the site have possibly receded, and funding for maintaining the facility appears to be appearing from sources such as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), all is far from well.

It’s hard to know what’s going behind the closed doors of the various bodies and trusts which are involved, but there seem to be major problems coming with the funds and grants, and the people charged with looking after them.

As well as the people at the top, there is conflict on the site as well, as the site is home not only to the artefacts and stories of the World War II activities which took place there, but also the National Museum of Computing. This has ended up sharing the site, since so many development that played a part with Station X during the war would go on to find applications in computing. The two are intimately connected, as developments in one led to advances in the other.

But all is not well, and the two sites seem to be doomed to suffer as those who have their hands on control of the site and its resources seem unable to get along together.

I have my own thoughts on how they should be dealt with, suffice to say these people are not as important as the artefacts or memories they are supposed to be caring for, and they should be shown the door if they cannot find a way to work together. I wouldn’t normally support such a course (people in a job usually want to be there), but when something has dragged on for years, then someone has to step in and ‘bang heads together’, or operate a ‘new broom’ philosophy to save the situation.

People are already ‘jumping ship’ to get away, and probably just doing so in order to avoid ‘being pushed’.

This does the various museums, memorials, or organisations associated with the site (eg HLF) no good at all, and could end up tarring them with the same brush if bad management, personal interest, abuse of power/position, or whatever.

Here is some background reading – these item are in chronological order, as they appeared:

Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors • The Register

Bletchley Park’s bitter dispute over its future

Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into ‘geeky Disneyland’ • The Register

Bletchley Park spat ‘halts work on rare German cipher machine’ • The Register

Veterans gather for Colossus 70th anniversary

Bletchley Park board member quits amid TNMOC split-off spat • The Register

Bletchley Park board member quits amid TNMOC split-off spat • The Register

Update

Since I was moved to mention this issue, things have continued to deteriorate:

Bletchley boffins go to battle again: You said WHAT about Colossus? • The Register

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17/03/2014 Posted by | military, World War II | , , , , | Leave a comment

People see off Pollok Park fiasco

Pollok Park protest

Pollok Park protest

I had been looking at some past stories the other day, and wondered if the story of Glasgow City Council apparently doing its own thing in order to parachute a Go-Ape treetop adventure playground into Pollok Park had gone away, regardless of strong objections and a large campaign against the facility by those living nearby, and concerned for abuse of the park, with respect to the terms laid out by the family which gifted it to the city (not the councillors).

It seems not, and the plan is now history.

The Go-Ape facility was given the go-ahead by councillors in March of last year, despite the active campaign against it, after the made a visit to the site and held a special meeting. It would have seen platforms and zip slides installed into the trees near the Burrell Collection, but the company behind the scheme is now reported to have pulled out.

Go-Ape is reported to have said that the venture is too expensive to pursue further.

One significant point worthy of note was the Scottish Government’s decision not to call in the plan or issue any restrictions after it was referred to Scottish ministers because the council had a financial interest in it. Despite the objections of the protesters, it simply handed the complete decision to the local council.

Robert Booth, Glasgow City Council’s executive director of land services, said: “Obviously we regret Go Ape’s decision not to proceed with their facility at Pollok Park. Our main objective was to secure an additional attraction for park users at no cost or financial risk to the council.”

Save Pollok Park said it was “delighted” with the decision of Go Ape to abandon its plans. A spokesman added: “However, the council’s failure to consult and respond to the real legal and operational issues resulted in over two years of unnecessary work and a waste of taxpayers’ money which could have been avoided. We call for a detailed inquiry into the council’s futile posturing and mishandling of the Go Ape affair.”

Although the plan may have been sunk, there may yet be an aftermath.

Image from Save Pollok Park web site.

14/06/2009 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish Government runs away from Pollok Park problem

Pollock Park protest

Pollok Park protest

The Scottish Government has declined to become involved in the matter of plans to create a controversial tree top adventure course in Pollok Park, home of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, and a spokesman has stated that: “The council has been authorised deal with the application in the manner it thinks fit.”

Operator Go-Ape want to install platforms and zip slides in the trees near the collection, and the scheme was referred to Scottish ministers because the council has a financial interest in the venture – and had passed the application for the installation, despite strong local opposition to the proposal.

Campaigners against the scheme say they will now look towards mounting a legal challenge, on the basis that Glasgow City Council has no right to grant a lease (for 21 years) in Pollok Park, which was gifted to the city.

The countryside park with superb walled gardens and woodland walks was once part of the Old Pollok estate, and the ancestral home of the Maxwell Family for seven centuries. In 1966, the parkland and house was gifted to the City of Glasgow by the family, together with the remainder of the estate, used for farming and recreation purposes such as golf

Image from Save Pollok Park web site, where you can find further information about the campaign to save the park.

04/09/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pollok Park campaign boosted

Go Ape go homeIn the same week I found myself biting my lip and refraining from commenting about Glasgow City Council’s claim that local taxation would be “a disaster for Scotland’s economy” (I can’t afford to fight council backed lawyers), I was reminded of it’s approach to the “Wishes of the people” when the farcical story of the proposed Go Ape adventure area in Pollok park popped up in news once again.

Earlier stories recounted the council had carried out a consultation, which sounds good, but hardly anyone knew about it, and the results throw some doubt as to its validity, but what do I know – I never took part, and never knew about it.

The matter has been referred to ministers at Holyrood because Glasgow City Council has a financial interest in the scheme.

Opponents against the development believe a recent archaeological find in the park backs their claim that the council was wrong to back the scheme. A team from Glasgow University and Glasgow Archaeological Society have found what may be the oldest surviving road in the city, dating back to 500 or even 700 BC, comprising a a paved path between 50 and 100 metres in length, discovered beneath woodland and vegetation within Pollok Park.

Campaigners are due to hand a 5,000 signature petition in to Holyrood next week, against the development, and say that any support should have been conditional on the site being properly investigated before backing was  offered.

Image from Save Pollok Park web site.

20/06/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Glasgow will Go Ape after council decision (but then Go Ape was the one to go)

Go Ape protestWe blogged earlier about the efforts of Glasgow City Council to Hijack Pollok Country Park, and it looks as if we were right. In a move which many locals will see as reinforcing opinion that it does what it wants regardless of what the people it’s supposed to represent want, the council has voted in favour of the development of a commercial adventure course in the park, which was gifted to the people of Glasgow by its former owners. The proposal was voted through by 14 votes to 6, and backs the lease of part of the public park to the development company concerned, Go Ape, for 21 years, and comes after a special meeting and visit to the site.

In a statement, the convenor of the planning committee George Redmond said: “It was important, given the high level of public interest in this proposal, that there was a full and fair hearing to allow the interested parties to make factual representations.

The application will now be referred to ministers at Holyrood because Glasgow City Council has a financial interest in the scheme. According to The Herald of February 8, 2008:

  • Objections to the scheme have ranged from the disturbance expected to other park users, and visitors to the Burrell Collection, to the fact that adults will be charged £25 and children £20 to take part.It has now emerged that the operators expect a turnover of £1.3m a year but the council will make only £2.2m over the 21-year period of the lease.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said Glasgow City Council had an abysmal track record in protecting its parks and greens spaces. He said: “They have permitted attacks on green spaces large and small, and they have earned the resentment of people throughout the city.”

Environmental campaigners have said they will continue to fight against the plan.

Update

The proposal eventually failed – as noted, it was folly from the start, and a mistake by the council.

The plans would have seen treetop walkways and zip slides

Controversial plans to build a treetop adventure playground in Pollok Park in Glasgow have been abandoned.

The Go Ape facility was given the go-ahead by councillors last year, despite a large campaign against it.

Now the firm behind the adventure course in the park’s north wood, behind the Burrell Collection, is pulling out.

Glasgow City Council has called it a “major disappointment” but the Save Pollok Park group said it was delighted with the move.

The proposed Go Ape adventure play area would have seen platforms and zip slides placed in the trees near the Burrell Collection.

In March 2008, members of the planning committee at Glasgow City Council voted in favour of the plan after a special meeting and visit to the site.

Despite a continued campaign from objectors, the Scottish Government decided it would not issue any restriction or call in the plan.

The scheme was referred to Scottish ministers because the council had a financial interest in the scheme.

Go Ape are understood to have now decided the venture would be too expensive to pursue.

Save Pollok Park said it was “delighted” with the decision of Go Ape to abandon its plans.

A spokesman added: “However, the council’s failure to consult and respond to the real legal and operational issues resulted in over two years of unnecessary work and a waste of taxpayers’ money which could have been avoided.”

Go Ape drops treetop park plans

Image from Save Pollok Park web site.

06/04/2008 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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