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City's small businesses object to plans for public parks

SMALL businesses have raised objections to proposed rules for Glasgow that could force them to seek permission to use public parks.

A consultation was launched in January to seek public opinion on the future of the city's green spaces in the wake of an unauthorised party in Kelvingrove Park in 2011 that led to the arrest of 21 people.

Glasgow City Council says the proposed rules would encourage park-users to "take responsibility for their own actions and respect other people", but small businesses have warned they go too far.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to the local authority urging a rethink over what it argues will be unnecessary bureaucracy.

The group, which has 1200 members in the city, warns against an outright ban on commercial activity without the written permission of the director of parks - highlighting that this hands sweeping powers to council officials with no detail of the criteria on which acceptable activities will be judged.

The rules propose that businesses that have already been granted an alcohol licence to serve festivals and events would also have to seek written permission from the director. The FSB says this "seems completely unnecessary and a wasteful bureaucratic exercise for both council and business".

Proposals also include an insistence that dogs are kept on a lead no longer than six feet when in parks. It also includes a ban on any unauthorised gathering of 20 or more people without written consent and on playing or ­practising organised sport.

Martin Little, the FSB's Glasgow chairman, said: "Glasgow's small businesses love the city's fantastic parks. Many use them occasionally, such as nurseries and licensed businesses, or regularly, such as fitness or art classes.

"It is not clear what the council is trying to achieve by requiring written permission to conduct commercial activity in municipal outdoor spaces, or on what standards businesses will be judged.

"If businesses are doing no harm and encouraging more people to use the parks, why would anyone seek to put barriers in their way?"

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