Report urges halt to shared space scheme

30-04-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres.   Protest at Council HQ against Catherine Street junction plans
30-04-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres. Protest at Council HQ against Catherine Street junction plans

Councils have been urged to put on hold plans for shared space traffic schemes until their safety and effectiveness can be fully assessed.

The news comes just weeks before work begins on the controversial project at the busy Catherine Street junction in Kirkintilloch town centre.

The “free-for-all” schemes which mix traffic and pedestrians have been blasted in a new report by Lord Holmes of Richmond.

The former Paralympian, who is blind, sought the views of hundreds of people – and the majority of them rated their experience of using shared spaces as poor. He has called for an immediate moratorium on “these dangerous and costly planning follies”.

His report found more than a third of people actively avoided shared spaces and there was a significant under-reporting of accidents.

He said: “An immediate moratorium on all shared space is absolutely essential. I hope this survey will act as a wake-up call to all involved in these dangerous and costly planning follies.

“Town centres are being turned into dangerous third-world traffic free-for-alls by over-zealous councils.”

He is also calling for more guidance to be given by the Government to local authorion on the Equalities Act.

Director of development and regeneration, Thomas Glen, said: “Lord Holmes’ report highlights some of the concerns raised by residents in East Dunbartonshire and we have been working to address those concerns and anxieties. The council has fully adhered to all national design policy and guidance and has actively encouraged the community to share their views.”