Work on Bears Way project called to halt

Councillor Duncan Cumming next to new cycle lane, Milngavie Road.
Councillor Duncan Cumming next to new cycle lane, Milngavie Road.

Controversial work being carried out on the ‘Bears Way’ project in Bearsden and Milngavie has been suspended until the impact of phase 1 has been carefully considered.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP group put forward an amendment at last Thursday’s full council meeting, calling for any further construction work on the Bears Way A81 cycleway project to be stopped until a full analysis of phase 1 is carried out.

They also asked the council to carry out a proper consultation for any future development and report the findings to councillors for approval before any further action.

SNP group leader Councillor Ian Mackay said: “Whilst I agree with the principle of separating cyclists from cars the present proposals do not do that successfully and more thought has to go into the design and how it impacts on the local community and current A81 users.”

Independent Bearsden councillor Duncan Cumming also put forward a motion at the meeting, but it was not supported. He requested phase 2 and 3 to be paused to allow for a ‘proper, meaningful consultation with the communities of Bearsden and Milngavie’ and conventional public meetings to be held instead of ‘drop-in sessions’, to allow members of the public to ask questions instead of writing comments on post-it notes.

He said: “To date I have been ignored, but more importantly the legitimate concerns of local people have also been ignored. People have some very real concerns including an increase in traffic congestion, narrow roads and extremely busy junctions. I supported the SNP’s motion but I don’t think it goes far enough.”

Councillor Ashay Ghai, LibDem group leader, said: “We have thought about the issue greatly and agreed that phase 2 must not be steamrollered through without reflecting the views of the communities that we represent.”

Councillor Alan Moir, convener of development and regeneration, said: “Further consultation will take place on design options for future phases in the spring of 2016. Phase one is being continually monitored and amendments will be made as required.

“Local concerns have not been ignored and we recognise the challenges that this new model presents for many local people. However, we must also promote active travel and reduce carbon emissions. We recognise the need to engage with local residents, businesses, road users and stakeholders. We have maintained this commitment and will continue to do so.”