Council has ‘lost the plot’ over road plan

Catherine St and Cowgate, Kirkintilloch.
Catherine St and Cowgate, Kirkintilloch.

East Dunbartonshire Council has been accused of “losing the plot” over a controversial plan to make changes to a 
road junction.

Residents reacted angrily after last week’s story in the Herald over safety fears in relation to the new “shared space” planned for the Catherine Street junction in 
Kirkintilloch.

Some called for the council to go and accused it of not listening to residents.

East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum expressed fears last week the plan will put lives at risk and has appealed to the council not to make the changes.

Forum members are also accusing the council of a “token attempt” at consultation.

The Herald’s Facebook page was inundated with comments from furious residents in support of the disability action group’s concerns.

Mary Millar said: “This council have totally lost the plot. They are hell bent on destroying Kirkintilloch. If they would just listen to the common sense views of the residents and taxpayers they would see that this idea is a ‘no brainer’.

Under the plans, barriers, kerbs and traffic lights will be removed to allow vehicles and pedestrians to share space.

Ann Currie-Noon said: “As per usual the council is not listening to what their constituents want . . . time for them to go.

Robert Neilson said: “Someone is going to die at this crossroads if the council has its way.”

Thomas Glen, director of development and regeneration at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “A key element of Kirkintilloch Masterplan is making the town centre more accessible for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and motorists. For that to happen, a change in the way the public realm is shaped and used is required.

“Proposals have been informed and amended via extensive feedback from public awareness events, an online survey, questionnaires and engagement with community groups.

“The Masterplan Project Team has worked with the East Dunbartonshire Visibility Impaired People’s Forum to understand the barriers to movement and access within the space. In addition, the team has also recently met with Guide Dogs UK, Deafblind Scotland and the council’s own sensory impairment rehab officer.

“We fully appreciate changes of this nature can cause some anxiety. We will work with local groups and individuals to mitigate risk.

“The council recognises it has a duty of care and, wherever necessary, will help to facilitate retraining to help people readjust. It must be emphasised that although the scheme proposed for Cowgate is similar to others implemented throughout the UK, it is not a shared surface scheme. The project is guided by similar design philosophies, but will include a 60mm kerb, and raised tables which will include designated crossing areas with the appropriate use of tactile materials. The decision to include this particular kerb height emerged through consultation work with EDVIP.”

Options will be discussed at a regeneration committee meeting on March 24.