Cash funding is at risk if a controversial plan to make changes at the junction at Catherine Street in Kirkintillochis ditched or diluted.
This was the warning this week from East Dunbartonshire Council’s regeneration chief Thomas Glen.
More than 1500 people have so far signed a petition by East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum urging the council to rethink its plans to remove barriers, kerbs and traffic lights to allow vehicles and pedestrians to share space at the busy junction.
Many protestors, headed by the forum, were expected to lobby councillors at last night’s (Tuesday) regeneration committee meeting where the proposal, along with the rest of the Cowgate Street Design Project was to be discussed.
In a report released before the meeting, Mr Glen recommended councillors “approve the preferred option for the Catherine Street junction within the Cowgate Street Design Project”.
He added the council had received funding equating to 60 per cent of the overall cost of the Cowgate project from external bodies SPT and Sustran Scotland.
He warned: “Members should be aware a failure to deliver the project or diluting the vision from that outlined in the adopted Masterplan could have capital budget and reputational implications for the council in securing external funding for this project and future projects.”
Meanwhile, chairman of the Visually Impaired People’s Forum Sandy Taylor is appealing to the public to make their feelings known to the council. The forum, which says the Catherine Street junction plans will put lives at risk. has been campaigning at the junction to make the public aware of the plans.
Last year, the council trialled the system which resulted in a torrent of complaints from the public.
Chairman of the forum, Sandy Taylor said: “As we stood at the junction collecting signatures for our petition, we heard horrific accounts from the public of near misses and altercations which took place during this trial.
“The project team have taken no account of the safety fears expressed during the consultations with our members, Guide Dogs Scotland, the local Access Panel and Deaf Blind Scotland, and are proceeding undemocratically. The town will become a no-go area. Shoppers will go elsewhere to avoid the danger.”
The new plan will mean no stream of traffic has priority over the other, while pedestrians have right of way.
On the Herald Facebook page this week, pressure continued to mount on the council to think again.
Ross Matheson said: “Fair play to the campaigners at the junction on Saturday making everyone aware of just how disgusting the council’s actions on this have been.”
On Monday, Mr Glen said the town centre Masterplan, which includes the Catherine Street junction plan “was shaped through consultation with a range of local stakeholders” and external funding had been secured.
He added: “Therefore it follows if the proposals within the Masterplan are radically changed then potentially there could be an impact on funding.
“However, that would be a matter for the funding bodies involved.”