I am calling for plans which destroy the wildlife habitat at Otago Lane to be refused. Along with other objectors, I continue to support the campaign to save Otago Lane from a monstrous 8-storey flatted development which would destroy the historic lane and a significant natural landscape along the River Kelvin.
Glasgow City Council planning committee is meeting on 29th August for a site visit and hearing to consider the development proposal. I will speak at the hearing as one of the objectors.
View of the natural landscape and community garden.
This site on the riverbank of the River Kelvin is protected by Development Policy Principle DEV 11 Green Space. The site has 34 newly established native trees as well as perennial shrubs which provide a vital green wildlife corridor. Whilst the wildlife survey did not find signs of otters, it is known for otters to go to riverbanks covered in trees and shrubs which are undisturbed and sheltered. The survey did not check some of the best areas of the site where otters could choose to lie up. Scottish Natural Heritage indicate that otter activity has been recorded for several years nearby, at the Big Blue next to Kelvinbridge.
View of the wildlife corridor from Gibson Street Bridge.
It is stated in the proposal's tree survey that the current natural vegetation on the riverbank immediately adjacent to the existing mews on Otago Lane has high landscape value. The existing trees are developing as a beneficial natural screen, so making a positive impact on the character and amenity of the local neighbourhood. The planning committee should refuse this application as the buildings proposed will structurally alter the greenspace along the riverbank and destroy the current treelined panorama views of the River Kelvin and the Kelvinbridge area within the West End's conservation area.
Update on 29th August 2012:
The councillors on the planning committee voted in favour of the proposal: 9 For, 6 Against and 1 Abstention. This is a devastating decision for the people who live and work from premises on Otago Lane. This lane is a very special place in the heart of Glasgow's West End which should have been protected from this monstrous plan by planning policies supporting cobbled lanes and greenspaces within the City Plan. I will continue to work with people directly affected and assist their efforts to Save The Otago Lane.