MSPs promise to pursue plea to halt shared space

Campaigner Sandy Taylor, who is blind
Campaigner Sandy Taylor, who is blind

An MSP has called for a 
review of controversial shared space schemes, as 
fellow members agreed to pursue a plea to halt the work at Kirkintilloch town centre.

West of Scotland MSP Jackson Carlaw spoke out at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

The committee reconvened on March 8 to give their verdict on a 
disabled campaigner’s appeal.

Sandy Taylor, who is blind, is calling for a moratorium on all shared spaces in Scotland until safety and equality issues have been addressed. He originally appeared at a meeting of the committee in January.

Committee convener Michael Matheson said: “We cannot conclude our deliberations on this. We need to pursue this a lot further.”

Mr Carlaw added: “The UK government has asked for all 
local authorities to submit details of all shared space schemes they currently operate in order that a review can be undertaken.

“I do think there is a case for a a parallel initiative here in Scotland.”

He added he had been “disappointed with the quality of responses” to requests so far for information from various sources.

He said: “One council 
responded due to conflicting disability needs and preferences particularly surrounding kerb views, it is simply not possible to deliver a street design to meet the specific desires of all disability groups.”

He said there was a need for further action as Mr Taylor had told the committee shared space designs were “more prejudicial to disability groups”.

Committee convener Michael Matheson agreed and added: “What we can do is scrutinise what’s happening and ask for policy direction to be looked at. We cannot make a ruling about a local authority and cannot ask a planning authority to undo a decision.”

Complaints flooded in to the Herald after the first phase of the works at Kirkintilloch town centre started on February 8. Cowgate is to shut to vehicles in continuous phases until August 2017.

Similar protests have been happening as a result of other shared space projects.

Kinross Community Council this week demanded a pedestrian crossing be put back in their town’s high street.

It claims people are now too scared to cross the road as drivers are failing to stop at new ‘courtesy crossings’.

Mr Taylor and his supporters have been campaigning against the removal of pedestrian crossings from the Catherine Street junctions and at William Patrick Library.