Safety fears for pupils in shared space project

30-08-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres.     KIRKINTILLOCH Shared Space campaign. Councillor Jack Young, MP John Nicolson, Sandy Taylor, East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired Forum and Guide Dogs for Blind Sensory Bus exhibition and protest against shared space plan, at Catherine Street on Cowgate, as part of canal exhibition
30-08-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres. KIRKINTILLOCH Shared Space campaign. Councillor Jack Young, MP John Nicolson, Sandy Taylor, East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired Forum and Guide Dogs for Blind Sensory Bus exhibition and protest against shared space plan, at Catherine Street on Cowgate, as part of canal exhibition

Fears have been expressed for the safety of hundreds of children due to a controversial town centre shared space scheme.

East Dunbartonshire Council have confirmed Holy Family Primary School in Kirkintilloch will remain shut for up to a year for vital repairs to the building.

Its 350 pupils were decanted to the old Lairdsland Primary at Kerr Street in August after the shock discovery of structural damage.

Parents this week raised concerns over road safety with work set to start in January on removing traffic lights and barriers at the nearby busy Catherine Street/Kerr Street junction at Cowgate.

Members of the Parents Council told the Herald they were meeting with council representatives this week for an update on the work to the school and the shared space project.

In a statement, members said they hoped that 12 months would be the maximum length for the works.

They added: “We have not yet seen the structural survey report but are having meetings with the council representatives this week to ascertain further details.

“Our parent community do have ongoing concerns regarding the shared space project which we will raise with the appropriate parties.”

There has been widespread opposition to the shared space plan, particularly from disabled groups who are fighting to have the decision overturned.

But Thomas Glen, Director of Development and Regeneration, said work on the scheme would begin early next year and the council were in the process of appointing a contractor.

He added: “A traffic management plan will be produced by the contractor and agreed by the council.”

Mr Glen said an independent road safety audit had identified no concerns and during the junction trial last year, Lairdsland Primary School was still located in Kerr Street. Alterations included crossings at Catherine Street/Kerr Street, he added, and schools would be kept informed.