LETTER TO EDITOR - Town Centre - No progress being made

Sandy Taylor has headed the campaign against the shared space
Sandy Taylor has headed the campaign against the shared space

Sir, – Following last May’s local election, the minority SNP Council administration responded to massive public pressure by introducing a motion to re-instate the traffic lights at the Catherine Street Junction.

In a political point scoring exercise Councillor Susan Murray amended this motion, calling for further consultation.

This has resulted in no progress having been made over the past six months and now the Kirkintilloch Community Council hase been appointed to carry out this consultation exercise at a cost to the local taxpayer of around £12,000.

The people of Kirkintilloch will be astounded to learn that this is a pointless exercise and an outrageous waste of public funds, as none of the issues concerning our shambolic Town Centre will be addressed in this survey.

All questions relating to the chaotic and dangerous Catherine Street junction will now be the subject of a separate consultation which will be carried out by East Dunbartonshire Council in the coming weeks.

It is beyond comprehension why this could not be conducted at the same time as the KCC consultation. All other issues concerning this morally reprehensible scheme which excludes hundreds of disabled and vulnerable people have been omitted from the questionnaire, such as any reference to the reinstatement of controlled crossings or other safety issues. Pavement parking which has now reached epidemic proportions does not merit a mention, nor does pavement clutter, kerb heights or cycling on pavements.

The questionnaire was compiled by members of KCC at a series of private meetings where no members of the local community were present or consulted, yet they claim this is all about empowering the community.

As the survey is being funded by the council, it is clear that they have conspired to discuss only non-contentious subjects which would receive a positive response, such as historical heritage, aesthetics, parks and open spaces, housing, transport, only one question refers to access issues.

The public are being asked to score these topics from 1 to 7, 1 being very poor and 7 being very good, however only these ‘’scored’’ topics will be recorded and will provide the outcome of the survey.

While these are important, these were not the issues we were led to believe we would be discussing, the survey is therefore viewed by the public as irrelevant and a huge disappointment following all the hype.

The public also fail to understand why KCC has been appointed to carry out this consultation when it has failed to reflect the views of the vast majority of the people of Kirkintilloch during the past four years.

Recent changes to the KCC constitution will further alienate the public, as members of the local community can no longer express their views or participate in KCC meetings. Whatever happened to democracy and public empowerment?

They have also decided to reduce the number of meetings from ten per annum to only four. They have failed to communicate with the local community as no minutes or public notices have been posted at the Library or sent to the EDC liaison officer since May 2015.

This survey will take the form of an on-line questionnaire on the KCC Facebook page, however this is not accessible to many elderly and disabled people.

A series of drop-in-meetings will also be held on January 25, 26 and 27 at the lesser Town Hall and other venues, however many vulnerable people who can no longer access their town will be excluded from these meetings and their voices will again go unheard.

We, the people of Kirkintilloch, now need the support of our elected councillors to help us return our town centre to the safe, accessible, inclusive and vibrant pleasant place we all desire.

I therefore urge all councillors to put party differences aside and act in the best interests of their constituents. – Yours, etc.,

Sandy Taylor

Chairman

East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired Peoples Forum