Waiting a year before putting safety lights back at the busy Catherine Street junction in Kirkintilloch is “totally unacceptable”.
That’s the view of disabled campaigner Sandy Taylor as a new row ignites over the controversial shared space in the town centre.
The latest furore comes after a letter in last week’s Herald from Lib Dem Councillor Susan Murray.
In it, she wrote: “The contract ends when the snagging period ends in June 2018 and the council has to wait until then before changes are made or risk uncontrolled costs”.
She added: “If it was possible just to put the traffic lights back now I would support this.”
But Mr Taylor responded: “As most of us are aware, contracts can be renegotiated, amended or revoked by either party.
“Any delay in reinstating traffic lights, controlled crossings and proper kerbs will cause the town and its people more misery, as many are still excluded from their town through fear and their inability to cross the street safely”.
He has again accused the Lib Dem councillor of “political opportunism” for the second time in two weeks.
At a council meeting on June 13, a motion tabled by council leader Gordan Low (SNP) to have the reinstatement of the lights addressed as “a matter of urgency”, was successfully amended by Councillor Murray who wants further consultation with the public prior to any decision.
In her letter to the Herald, Councillor Murray said this would not delay the reinstatement of the lights as the council would have to wait until June next year anyway.
Mr Taylor said: “I was present in the chamber when this last-minute amendment was delivered and the minutes will confirm that Councillor Murray made no mention of the year-long timescale or any penalty clause.
“This is yet another example of political opportunism from Councillor Murray who simply wants to justify a delay to thwart any progress by the current administration”.
Councillor Murray’s letter provoked an angry response on the Herald’s Facebook page.
Peter McMahon posted: “This delay is intolerable and will continue the exclusion from our community of those who find it impossible to safely negotiate this junction. If this is not a ‘snag’ then what is”?
John Lindsay posted : “The council can negotiate with the contractor to take the areas where the traffic lights would be installed out of the warranty, and let the council get on with the job. Her explanation is just procrastination.”
While David Abercrombie asked: “Why wasn’t this brought up earlier?”
Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive - Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said: “As agreed by council on June 13, officers are preparing a report on the Cowgate project. Included will be transport modelling and design appraisals, with options and potential costs for consideration.
“The work which Rainton was contracted to deliver has been completed. We are now in a 12-month monitoring period. Any additional work would need to take account of this contractual position.”
n Meanwhile there was chaos on Friday afternoon when a car broke down on a courtesy crossing at the Catherine Street junction. There was gridlock as vehicles tried to manouevre around the car and traffic was queued back to Southbank Road.