‘They came at dawn and put giant two-tonne concrete blocks across Otago Lane’

By Ian Marland at

Residents and traders have accused a developer of heavy-handed tactics in a long-running planning row.

Local people have been left raging after giant two-tonne concrete blocks were placed across Otago Lane.

The row has flared as it emerged Hugh Scott is preparing to start work on a major homes development on the site – as early as next month.

Otago Lane

Angry: Ivan Coghill says residents will take legal action to remove the blocks

The blocks have been placed by workmen along the boundary of Mr Scott’s land at the bottom of the lane – in the West End’s Bohemian quarter.

But, according to residents and businesses, their position means access to a row of antique shops and cafes has been affected.

They claim Mr Scott has so-called ‘burdens’ as landowner that protect local people’s access to their premises.

These burdens have been totally disregarded, they say – and they are determined to take the developer to court to prove it.

Cars can no longer turn around and vehicles are forced to reverse precariously up the lane on to busy Otago Street, they say.

It is understood Mr Scott strongly disputes the issue of burdens on his land.

Otago Lane

Low-loader: the two-tonne blocks were brought in the early hours

Martin Fell owns Tchai Ovna tearooms which is one of the businesses caught up in the row.

He said: “The way this has been done has upset a lot of people in the lane.

“They arrived early in the morning and took everyone by surprise – it was effectively a dawn raid.

“They moved cars out of the way and cleared the lane without a thought at all for anyone here.

“We can’t believe they’ve been allowed to get away with it.

“People who were here at the time thought it was a threatening atmosphere.

“These concrete blocks say it all: they’re the kind of things that you get outside airports to protect against terrorism.

“It’s wrong and we are going to fight it in the courts.”

Otago Lane

Access: cars can no longer turn in the lane

Resident Ivan Goghill said it was clear that local people’s rights had been breached.

“We are definitely looking at taking civil legal action against the developer.

“These blocks are obstructing access to our rights of servitude.

“The land here belongs to Hugh Scott but the land comes with burdens – and those burdens mean that he has to maintain this as a right of way for residents and local businesses.

“It’s not a public right of way … but it’s a right of way for people who live and work here.”

Resident Clarke Shearer said: “I don’t think he has a legal right to leave these things [the concrete blocks] sitting here.

‘I don’t think this is legal; I think he’s just done it to show us that he can.”

Peter Ashby, at Mixed Up records, said everyone was affected by the blocks.

“Cars can’t turn around now and it’s going to cause problems with getting deliveries in to businesses.

“Even the refuse collection is going to be affected because there is no longer access all along the lane.”

Resident Ivan Coghill:

“We are definitely looking at taking civil legal action against the developer.

“These blocks are obstructing access to our rights of servitude.

“The land here belongs to Hugh Scott but the land comes with burdens – and those burdens mean that he has to maintain this as a right of way for residents and local businesses.”

Local people and Mr Scott have been at war over plans for flats in Otago Lane for several years.

Permission was renewed last year for three residential blocks, comprising four townhouses and 45 flats.

The green light came despite 800 letters of objection and a petition with more than 3,500 signatures.

The site overlooks the River Kelvin close to Gibson Street and Kelvingrove Park.

Concerns had been raised about the impact of the building work on wildlife and the river.

The developer was also tasked with removing invasive plant species across the site, including Japanese Knotweed.

Mr Scott has declined to make any public comment in the past about his proposals on Otago Lane.

And he said he had no comment to make when approached this week by Glasgow West End Today.

However, it is understood that he disputes the accounts given by residents.

It is understood the blocks were placed on the lane to ensure construction workers have access to the site.

It’s thought work could begin as soon as next month.