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Sandwich board row rumbles on
LAST winter was a complete disaster for every high street retailer and was rapidly followed by the the nadir of the present economic recession.
The businesses in Kirkintilloch were not unaffected.
Shops that were already struggling to shine had the proverbial “stuffing” knocked out of them when the council proceeded to launch a nine month period of ill-thought-out road work projects that all but brought the shopkeepers, and residents, to a standstill. Everyone is sick of it.
But lo’, just as we approach the boom Christmas period, the council’s head of roads and neighbourhood services, David Devine, endorses their latest initiative to address a zero-tolerance approach to the “clutter” on the pavements of the town centre.
This “clutter” consists of sandwich boards and fly-posting materials and pedestrians and motorists are apparently in danger of the hazards and risks presented by such evils.
As I see it, Kirkintilloch’s main shopping thoroughfare is cursed with very few narrow pavements that no self-respecting shopkeeper would dream of blocking using a sandwich board; motorists are more likely to be distracted by the numerous “To Let” signs on empty shops, and the pavements are not littered with pedestrians who have fallen over sandwich boards as a result of losing concentration whilst reading fly-posting material.
In addition, the recent redundancy of the traffic warden has hardly led to gridlock in Townhead and Cowgate, on the contrary it would seem.
The town centre is, in fact, running smoother now than it has been for a considerable time, but shopkeepers beware, the council has decreed that you have until October 3 to get your act together and remove the sandwich boards which can, after all, be particularly hazardous.
With due deference to the blind residents of our community, perhaps it is they who should challenge our leaders on this matter.
Zero policy is unfair
I WAS perplexed and astonished to find that EDC has decided to force all small businesses to stop using sandwich boards outside their shops and premises, as these apparently are regarded as such a hazard that they will be treated with ‘Zero Tolerance’.
As that phrase was first coined to reduce the number of violent attacks and murders in New York, I think there’s just a tad of hype going on here.
Unless, of course, EDC regard all the small independent shopkeepers and cafe owners and hairdressers who are struggling to make a living as the true enemies of the people of East Dunbartonshire?
I thought EDC were supposed to encourage start-ups and small businesses, but this new rule will endanger many of the smallest and most vulnerable businesses in the area. To many their board is the only form of advertising they can afford.
It seems to me that this is the worst kind of interfering, headline grabbing, politicking, where the consequences have not been thought through.
Apparently there has been no consultation with any of the shopkeepers affected.
Just a draconian notice ordering them to take their property off the pavements by October 3, or it will be confiscated.
The council could have simply come up with a rule to leave a minimum width of pavement for pedestrians, if they really feel the need for an enforcement buzz.
To lump as a single problem fly-posting, which can be a blight and sandwich boards, which are used by almost every kind of legitimate business, is nonsense and unfair.
All these businesses pay business rates and deserve help, not hindrance.
Who would have thought a Conservative councillor would have championed such a Stalinist anti business policy!
Pitch was poor
ON Saturday, September 10 Campsie Black Watch played their league game versus Baillieston at Merkland astro grass.
Why not at Station Road? That’s a daft question, because as usual the Station Road pitch was flooded.
Merkland astro grass at a cost of £94 was an absolute disgrace, the nets had to be tied up with string, because they were full of holes.
The pitch was poor and almost certainly needed work put out in it and litter was evident behind the goals.
In their wisdom, East Dunbartonshire Council decided to put this pitch a distance from the dressing rooms. I was never surprised at this, because it is in keeping with the failure of this council to provide decent sporting facilities throughout East Dunbartonshire.
Also, it is not a job for one person, there is a need for at least three, one to be in attendance at the dressing rooms and the other two for the grass pitch and astro grass pitch.
It is only a dream, but maybe one day we will have councillors alert to what is needed.
Meanwhile, in last week’s Kirkintilloch Herald, Ian Gray, Rossvale Juniors manager, made remarks after his side had lost 6-0 to Johnstone Burgh that his players will have to remember that it’s not amateurs or 21s football they are now playing.
I am quite sure many amateur and under-21 clubs would take exception to that.
In every grade of football players aspiring to be successful must have many attributes and without doubt you do not start at junior level being any different.
If heart and head is needed then it is the case for all levels of the great game.
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