Dundee set to join London’s Hyde Park and get its own speakers’ corner

Myles McCallum is proposing a speakers corner for Lochee after land was cleared on the corner of Bank Street and High Street

It’s famous the world over as a place where people can get on their soapbox and talk about any subject they choose.

And now, Lochee could be about to join Hyde Park in London in having its very own speakers’ corner.

The Village of Lochee Partnership wants to use a vacant space off the High Street next to Boots as an area for people to air their views.

Litter has regularly plagued the area and the group hopes creating an open-air public space can solve the problem.

The idea is based on Speakers’ Corner in London, where figures such as Karl Marx and George Orwell have got on their soapboxes.

Jayne Kelly, co-chairwoman of the group, said: “A speakers’ corner-type idea would be great for the community and offer something that’s not available in Dundee at the moment. It’s the best and most community-inclusive idea we’ve received in a while.”

Jayne Kelly

The Village of Lochee Partnership is forging ahead with a series of events to improve Lochee’s fortunes, including a summer festival similar to annual festivities in Stobswell.

Speakers’ corners already exist in Nottingham, Staffordshire and Sussex and there are unofficial ones in Newcastle and Leeds.

Co-chairman Rory Malone said: “I think it’s a splendid and wonderful idea. We could develop it into something quite special that everyone in the community could use.”

Member Myles McCallum said: “A speakers’ corner would be fitting.

“People in Lochee have never been backward in coming forward so it would be great if we could get something like this.

“We’ll be holding a consultation event this Saturday at The Hub where people can come and talk about the things they’d like to see get done.”

In Hyde Park, Speakers’ Corner has been a site for public speeches and debates since the mid-1800s. Speakers may talk on any subject, so long as the police consider their speeches lawful.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no immunity from the law but, in practice, the police tend to be tolerant and intervene only when they receive a complaint.