Ten­sions flare up as work be­gins on de­vel­op­ment

Evening Times - - NEWS - By HOLLY LEN­NON

TEN­SIONS have flared as work be­gins on a con­tro­ver­sial West End hous­ing de­vel­op­ment.

City de­vel­oper Hugh Scott is cur­rently in the process of build­ing four town­houses and 45 flats on a site in Otago Lane.

Res­i­dents who are op­posed to the plans claim that the de­vel­op­ment is threat­en­ing their jobs and safety.

Otago Lane Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion has said that con­crete anti-tank bar­ri­ers in­stalled are re­strict­ing cus­tomers and res­i­dents from en­ter­ing the area.

A spokesman for the group claimed that peo­ple, in­clud­ing sev­eral chil­dren un­der five-years-old, have been pre­vented from ac­cess­ing the lane, mak­ing it both danger­ous and con­gested. They also said emer­gency ve­hi­cles had dif­fi­culty ac­cess­ing the site.

They added: “Coun­cil rub­bish re­moval lor­ries were not able to re­move the waste from any of the flats on Otago Lane and even the neigh­bour­ing Otago Street res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties which Mr Scott ac­tu­ally owns. At a time when the UK is still reel­ing from the ef­fects of the Grenfell dis­as­ter, the health and safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal health con­se­quences are al­most too se­ri­ous to con­tem­plate. The com­mu­nity fears that this is in­deed just the start, and much worse is to come.”

A three-year bat­tle was waged be­tween lo­cal res­i­dents, busi­nesses and politi­cians and Scott’s Otago Street De­vel­op­ment fol­low­ing plans be­ing lodged.

An ‘anti-flats’ pe­ti­tion was signed by more than 3,500 peo­ple with more than 600 in­di­vid­ual ob­jec­tions. De­spite the back­lash, Glas­gow City Coun­cil ap­proved the plans in 2012.

The com­mu­nity as­so­ci­a­tion added: “It 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 which was granted ap­proval, in spite of mas­sive pub­lic protest and clear grounds for its re­jec­tion by the plan­ning com­mit­tee, 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 – are at risk due to to the length and dis­tur­bance of con­struc­tion (up to two years).”

Fears have pre­vi­ously been raised about pri­vacy, day­light, over­crowd­ing and flood­ing is­sues.

They have also ob­jected to the de­sign and scale of the de­vel­op­ment.

Hugh Scott did not re­spond to the Evening Times’ re­quest for a comment.

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