otago lane

Credit: Glasgow Guardian / Rhiannon Doherty

Osama Abou-zeid

Work has began on a new housing development in Otago Lane, despite longstanding opposition from residents.

The development, headed up by city developer Hugh Scott, will consist of 45 flats and four townhouses. It is expected to take up to two years to complete.

Residents have raised objections to the construction as they believe the length and scale involved will negatively affect local businesses, detract from the lane’s unique character and cultural importance, and negatively impact the local environment.

A spokesman for the Otago Lane Community Association stated that the development “transgresses almost every planning policy that was designed by Glasgow City Council to protect the historic nature and natural environment of the city.

“The ambitious and unsympathetic building project […] will effectively spell the end of the Kelvin River Wildlife Corridor, vital to provide cognate habitat for such rare species as bats and otters.

“In addition, the livelihoods of up to 30 workers on the lane’s iconic artisan businesses – Voltaire and Rousseau, Tchai-Ovna House of Tea, Mixed Up Records and Kenneth Chappelle Clock Restorer’s – are at risk due to the length and disturbance of construction.

“If recent events are anything to go by, Hugh Scott plans to be anything but sensitive to the local community.”

Uproar against the development was revived when concrete barriers were installed in the lane, restricting access for residents. In the wake of the protest, the barriers were subsequently removed and six parking spaces were made available.

However, a spokesman for the Otago Lane Residents Association maintained: “Whilst we accept that planning permission has been granted for the site, we remain opposed to the development.
“We are also opposed [to] the removal of any parking and access to the residential properties and businesses of Otago Lane.

“We are staggered at the heavy-handed nature of recent actions which have resulted in the police being called due to the harassment – particularly of female members – of the community, [and] dangerous living conditions in terms of emergency access [and] hygiene caused by the instalment of the large concrete barriers.”

In reference to the barriers’ removal, he added: “We welcome Hugh Scott’s recent gesture of benevolence towards the community, and look forward to seeing his continued positive, friendly and community spirited behaviour.”

The spokesman from the Otago Lane Community Association continued: “Now it appears clear that Mr Scott intends to respect and uphold the integrity of the community and to work with it in good faith”, but added “this show of kindness may indeed be in order to aid the sale of the land which surrounds the mews building.”

Prominent local figures have also made their opposition to the development known, such as Glasgow City Councillor Martha Wardrop, MSPs Patrick Harvie and Sandra White and MPs Alan Reid, Jo Swinson, and Alistair Carmichael.