The Lennoxtown Initiative
This is a brief introduction to the The Lennoxtown Initiative and some new players and a welcome back to some characters we’ve met before. There will almost certainly be other posts as we drill down and info flows into the blog. Duedil provides an initial overview:
The Lennoxtown Initiative was created as a Charity. And who do we see as one of the founders. Mr John Dempsey who we have come across previously in his capacity as a councillor in the East Dunbartonshire council planning meetings.
An excerpt from the NHS letter at the bottom of the page describes the purpose of this body:
The letter, dated 22nd October 2002, was a request from the Chief Executive, Greater Glasgow Primary Care NHS Trust to the Greater Glasgow Health Board to support the Lennoxtown Initiative and the Disposal of land at the Former Lennox Castle Hospital.
Who was the Chief Executive? Well it was none other than Tom Divers who signed off on the £493,000 ex VAT sale of Lennoxtown sale to Celtic on 29th June 2006. Mr Divers, who became CE in October 2001, was here at the beginning of the story and he was there at the end to make the decision on his own & deliver it signed & sealed.
Mr Divers, in the letter, lobbies heavily for the NHS Trust board to accept the proposal that the Lennox Castle Land be rolled into the The Lennoxtown Initiative and that, that vehicle be used for the disposal of the land. This was accepted and The Lennoxtown Initiative became the key decision body for the sale of the land.
Lennoxtown Initiative Board
Nice move. It was a charity. It was not for profit. It also aided the claim that it was all at arms length. While also providing a buffer from the seeing eyes of FoI requests because it’s not a government body. The Lennoxtown Initiative board was comprised of some community representatives plus two persons each from the three main parties concerned:
Greater Glasgow Primary Care NHS Trust
East Dunbartonshire Council
Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire
The main purpose of the Initiative was to distribute the funds left over after all the costs were taken out from clearing the land with the residual to go to local community projects. Considering how little they got from Celtic for the sale of 19.45 hectares of prime real estate in June 2006, the Initiative didn’t last that long – it’s purpose had been served – to create the appearance of being above board & at arms length.
Persons of Interest
Lennoxtown Initiative is still a ‘live’ company but was mothballed in 2008 due to a lack of funds. The board minutes of the last meeting on 27th October 2008 say: ‘The Board agreed that adhoc meetings be resurrected consisting of Jim Gilmour, John Dempsey and Brian McAleenan, bringing in relevant external professionals as necessary.’
Let’s take a look at a couple of the names coming up and their details on Duedil.
We first met John Dempsey in the East Dunbartonshire council planning meetings when he had to step out of the room due to a ‘non-pecuniary interest‘ regarding a Celtic planning application. That is a subject of a FoI request. Looks like he was one of East Dunbartonshire’s two reps on the board.
He also was director of Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire too. So was he on the Lennoxtown Initiative board as their rep too?
Interestingly when we look at the list of persons at Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire another name from the past comes up. Brian Divers, brother of John Divers Jr, the Celtic player. They don’t overlap in time but must certainly know each other since they lived & worked in Dunbartonshire. link
Glasgow born, Jim McGlinchey Gilmour, has been the director of many construction companies and is the National President of the Federation of Master Builders. Putting a construction executive on the board of a public land disposal company is interesting. That’s like putting a fox in charge of the hen house. Funny that he didn’t push for the whole of Lennox Castle grounds to be residential? Looks like Mr Gilmour has a farm nearby in Torrance, Glasgow, G64 4AQ, so maybe he’s regarded as a community rep? Like the next chap.
One of the Lennoxtown community’s reps was Robert O’Donnell, Headmaster St Machan’s Primary School. Hmmm wonder what team he supports?
1. Did any persons in The Lennoxtown Initiative, the NHS Trust, East Dunbartonshire council or Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire receive hospitality from Celtic prior to the decision to award the Lennoxtown land to that club in 2006?
2. Did any persons in The Lennoxtown Initiative, the NHS Trust, East Dunbartonshire council or Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire attend the 2003 UEFA Cup Final in Seville, Spain as guests of Celtic?
3. Have any member of The Lennoxtown Initiative, the NHS Trust or East Dunbartonshire council who has been involved in Lennoxtown land sale and/or planning decisions wrt Celtic, been supporters and/or season ticket holders and/or shareholders of Celtic PLC?
NHS Greater Glasgow Health Letter on Disposal of land