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Tchai-Ovna, a speciality tea house which also serves vegetarian dishes and shishas first opened in Otago Lane in May 2000 thanks to the efforts of a diverse group of students, artists, dropouts and Possil Park youths
We didn’t think it would last past a year let alone 10 years.
We started it in order create a space that was truly peaceful and alternative. Since then Tchai-Ovna has continued to fulfill this objective, as well as providing a place for music and dramatic performance and an exhibition space for talented local artists.
Now it is one of the most famous places in Scotland mentioned in tourist guides and magazines and featuring regularly on the radio and even on the album covers of celebrated bands.
What makes Tchai-Ovna special is that it is truly the product of the community. Though the Fell brothers and Ken Shand had the original vision everyone who has ever come into contact with the place has made a personal contribution to it, be it helping out in the community tea garden, introducing new teas to the menu or helping out in the decoration. Culturally it is, perhaps, the focal point of the West End.
We in Tchai-Ovna are concerned that the development will leave Otago Lane bereft of the shops and inhabitants that make the character of the place, we are very worried that we will be forced to close due to the exponential disturbance we will suffer from the massive building development and this would not only affect the 15 people who work and make a living at the Tchai-Ovna but would also affect the wider community due to the loss of a unique, positive, independent cultural centre which has touched the lives of thousands.