Approval granted for controversial Otago Lane development

Credit: Francis Mackee

Credit: Francis Mackee

Rhys Harper & Hamish Morrison
News Editor & Writer

Glasgow City Council have extended planning permission to a controversial development which could see several iconic West End establishments displaced from Otago Lane.

Objections have been raised repeatedly by local residents and businesses to the proposed plans to build “four townhouses and 45 flats” since 2012. The Glasgow Planning Committee have reviewed the plans and decided to uphold the previous decision to build housing on the lane.

Otago Lane is home to Mixed Up Records, Tchai-Ovna House of Tea and second hand bookstore Voltaire and Rousseau, which has been situated on the lane since 1972.

Developers have been accused of harassment by one of the co-owners of Tchai-Ovna. In 2015 Tchai-Ovna were sued, successfully, by developers Hugh Scott over use of its front door. This lawsuit cost the West End tea shop tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.

Petitioners fighting the plans claim that a new housing development will ruin the uniqueness of the area, darken the lane and have pointed to the space’s close proximity to Kelvingrove Park as a potential environmental conflict.

Hillhead councillor Martha Wardrop, of the Scottish Green Party, opposed the development. She said, “Successive attempts at improving the water quality of the River Kelvin have been rewarded by the return of salmon, brown trout, lampreys, and European eels.

“The disturbance of the riverbank next to Otago Lane due to the proposed construction works for 45 flats and 4 townhouses would jeopardise the river ecosystem throughout this area.

“The proposed development would substantially overshadow the neighbouring properties on Otago Lane and significantly reduce the natural light available.

“The height and number of the proposed buildings will result in the current flats and shops in Otago Lane being entirely encircled and overshadowed by buildings up to 7-storeys larger.

“The existing flats and shops within Otago Lane are a mews dating from the early nineteenth century and should be protected from the proposal for 45 flats and 4 townhouses by the Council’s planning policy on historic back lanes and gardens.

“The developers’ proposal will destroy the unique character of an existing early nineteenth century mews and cobbled lane, is substantively out of proportion with the existing properties, and will overshadow, overlook and restrict light to the Otago Lane area.”