Protestors lobby parliament

From left, Fiona McLeod MSP, Sandy Taylor,  Michael McMahon MSP and Margaret Hutchison, vice chair of EVIP
From left, Fiona McLeod MSP, Sandy Taylor, Michael McMahon MSP and Margaret Hutchison, vice chair of EVIP

Disabled campaigners have stepped up their fight to halt the controversial shared space project for Kirkintilloch town centre with a trip to the Scottish Parliament.

Members of East Dunbartonshire Visibly Impaired Peoples Forum (EVIP) handed over a petition at Holyrood with 3,500 signatures of local supporters in a bid to scrap the scheme, which includes the removal of traffic lights at the busy Catherine Street junction.

Sandy Taylor, Chairman of the EVIP presented the petition to MSP Michael McMahon, convenor of the public petitions committee on Thursday, which was International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

They are being backed in their bid by Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod.

Mr Taylor said on Monday: “The petition called on the Scottish Government to effect an immediate moratorium on all shared space schemes pending an inquiry on safety and equality issues.

“We were also greatly heartened to meet a representative from the Equality and Human Rights Commission who are also deeply concerned on 
human rights issues in relation to shared space schemes.

“I have pointed out previously that the council’s proposals for crossing Cowgate are in breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, I further contend they also breach The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with a Disability.

“We were met at the parliament by our local MSP Fiona McLeod. I am grateful to her for highlighting the plight of the many disabled people, including those with dementia, who will be unable to cross the high street at Cowgate using uncontrolled and unsafe courtesy crossings.”

He added: “I have no argument with council plans to make the town centre LOOK more attractive.

“The major issue not addressed by the council however is safety and for this reason many will be excluded from the town centre.

“The only way the present level of inclusion can be maintained is to retain safe controlled Puffin Crossings throughout Cowgate.

“I am therefore at a loss as to why the council believe this scheme will be more 
inclusive.”