Are plans doing the business?

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Residents have responded with scepticism to council claims that business leaders are backing town centre regeneration.

The ongoing Kirkintilloch Town Centre Masterplan project is transforming the town, but there have been concerns over some of the proposals - including the plan for a ‘shared space’ at Catherine Street.

But local business owner Peter Di Ciacca, who sits on the Kirkintilloch Town Centre Champions Group, is fully behind the plans and council leader Rhondda Geekie.

He said: “The proposals for Catherine Street have attracted a lot of attention, but these are just one element of a much wider plan. It should be looked at in the context of the overall regeneration of the town centre.

“The ethos of these schemes can work very well and I look forward to seeing the rejuvenated Cowgate when the works are complete.”

And fellow Town Centre Champion and entrepreneur Meeki Singh insisted the plans were “going in the right direction”

He said: “Short term there is upheaval, but long term I think it will make Kirkintilloch better off.

“An example is the work carried out at Cowgate. Granted there is still work to be done, but in my nearly 20 years of being there, the place hasn’t looked better.

“In my opinion we should embrace the changes in order to enhance our town with a fresh, new look which is vibrant and welcoming.”

However many people remain dubious about whether the plans will result in a more thriving town centre.

On Facebook Stephen Ryan said: “Narrowing the streets will cause more congestion which will then lead to fewer cars going through Kirkintilloch Town Centre which will then lead to fewer people spending money, which could be the end for some.

“Lower the rates for the traders they would soon fill the empty shops and cost Kirkintilloch less in the long run - it’s time for a rethink.”

And Mynne Lanson added: “Prominent business owners? Who? Only two names were mentioned - is that it?

“Maybe ask the small business owners who are the ones that are really affected.”