Junction plan gets green light

A controversial plan for a busy town centre junction has been voted through – despite one of the council’s own advisors raising concerns.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s Sensory Impairment Rehab Officer had indicated the proposal for Catherine Street junction in Kirkintilloch was not his “preferred option”.

Visually Impaired Forum protest against removal of traffic lights

Visually Impaired Forum protest against removal of traffic lights

But members of the council’s Development and Regeneration Committee voted through the full proposal - to remove traffic lights, barriers and kerbs at the busy junction - by seven votes to four.

The four SNP councillors on the committee had put forward an amendment to allow the traffic lights with pedestrian crossing to be kept, but this was rejected by the rest of the committee. Before last Tuesday night’s meeting at the council’s HQ, angry members of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impared Forum protested outside. They say the new junction plan will put lives at risk and have collected more than 1,500 signatures for a petition against the plan.

Chairman Sandy Taylor said: “The fight goes on.”

SNP councillor Gillian Renwick told the Herald: “We wanted to leave the pedestrian lights as they are. This was the preferred option put forward by Guide Dogs for Scotland. To do this would have cost £50,000. I am sure the council could have found this amount. There is £2 million being spent on the total Cowgate Design Project.”

She added: “The council’s own rehabitation officer was a consultant and he said the full proposal was not his preferred option.”

Thomas Glen, the council’s director of regeneration said the report was scrutinised and questions answered by the Town Centre Masterplan team.

He said: “It was recommended by officers as part of the implementation of the masterplan the report be approved and the ‘Shared Space’ option for Catherine Street supported.

“Officers reiterated the rationale behind the recommended scheme as being to help regenerate Kirkintilloch town centre as a destination for people to work, shop and visit, with a need for continued engagement with members of the public, traders and local groups - particularly those with concerns.”

The committee’s decision will now be recommended for approval at a meeting of the full council on April 30.