Tchai-ovna Tea Room under threat


With the support of: local celebrities from: Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian and Phil Kay, Councilor Niall Walker, MSP Patrick Harvey and MSP Tommy Sheridan


For more information please contact Martin Fell tel: 07976932432 /0141 3574524 1.

In light of the unprecedented demonstration that took place on 22nd June George Square against the building of a large luxury block of flats on the Kelvin attended by over 70 demonstrators, including such celebrities as Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastien and Phil Kay and councilors. The confrontation has begun at Tchai-Ovna between members of the community and the large corporate developers who’s planning application was passed. Volunteers are now encamped and starting to blockade the development with the support of the above mentioned celebrities and local councilors and politicians.

2. A large corporation of developers, CPD Ltd. is working to build a block of luxury flats on the ruins of the site 2-12 Gibson St. that in style, green, white and glass completely contrasts with the red-stone buildings of the area on a site where there is a long history of subsidence. The building is proposed as solving the accommodation crisis of the West end, whereas it is rather to provide more unnecessary luxury accommodation, unaffordable for the normal resident of the area.

3. The community is unanimously against it, dozens of residents and local business owners have written to the council to complain. Over 500 people signed a petition opposing the development. A large representative demonstration took place on the day the planning committee were officially meant to consider the matter. Characteristically the council gave the go ahead in favour of the large corporation. There is no right of appeal.

4. Such a development, which would take up to a year, will disrupt a vibrant community which has been developing a unique character in Glasgow over the last decade. Though they were not granted permission to use Otago Lane as access they have already been doing so. The tea garden, which directly neighbours the proposed building site would quickly revert back to the stagnant waste ground from which it was painstakingly transformed. Local businesses would also be seriously affected and some, like Tchai-Ovna may be even forced to close causing the loss of jobs [see ‘Further information’ for more on Tchai-Ovna].

It is a typical case of big business and money making objectives rolling over important, unique small communities and small businesses.

Further Information Tchai-Ovna house of tea has been working for 4 years to establish and beautify the riverside environment in which it is situated. This continuous work that has been carried out under our own initiative and resources, both monetarily and in terms of time and energy, is now under serious threat due to the planned development of luxury flats on the bank of the Kelvin River. Since the last property fell into the river the sites of 8-14 Gibson St and number 16 were used as illegal dumping grounds, essentially left as wasteland. There was a large rat infestation due to the dumping of waste material, like used cooking oil, household waste and old furniture – piles measuring up to 2 metres high in places. One of the first tasks Tchai-Ovna undertook was to remove the debris in order to create a beautiful tea garden that is sensitive to the surrounding environment. The tea house has been also making a lot of effort to help and promote local artists which has attracted attention from the BBC and newspapers, including the Herald, List and Metro. This is under threat if the business is forced to close The period of disuse lead to the growth of a number of mature trees which we looked after and are important as a green corridor as well as providing a natural defense against flooding and thus subsidence. The building would have a devastating effect once it falls into the river, possibly in 50 years time. This is not only a threat to the bio-diversity of the site that has been developing since the last property fell into the river (around 25 years ago) but also overshadow and stifle the small independent businesses on the street, for which Tchai-Ovna has been of great economic benefit. It also destroys a focal point of the community. It is a typical case of the large corporate business sweeping aside grass roots development and the human necessity of cultural diversity. If left in the hands of the many commited people who have invested their energies, under the co-ordination of Tchai-Ovna, the garden would continue to flourish and evolve into a peaceful woodland sanctuary. As a safe place for the community where families could bring their children it would also provide a venue for outside cultural events.