No quick fix on the horizon for Kirkintilloch shared space critics

Pedestrians cross at the Catherine Street shared space junction
Pedestrians cross at the Catherine Street shared space junction

Councillors have unanimously backed a move to investigate reinstating traffic lights at the controversial shared space scheme in Kirkintilloch Town Centre.

A motion by council leader Gordan Low, as amended by Lib Dem councillor Susan Murray, has asked council officers to report back with proposals to bring the lights back “as a matter of urgency”.

But there was disappointment for campaigners at the council meeting held on Tuesday, June 13, when it became apparent that they face a long wait for any changes to be made at the Catherine Street junction.

Part of Councillor Murray’s amendment requested that any report should be produced “no later than in September” but doubts were cast as to whether the timescale would be achievable.

Thoms Glen told councillors: “The advice that I’ve taken from officers his that it is unlikely given the time required to go through the tendering exercise and to complete the necessary modelling that the report would be available for as early as September.

“So whilst I’m conscious of the decision being made by council I would just highlight the time of that report would be difficult for officers to achieve within the timescale.”

While there was agreement on taking action, councillors disagreed on whether further consultation was required before any potential reinstatement of the lights.

The SNP minority administration were insistant that the public feeling was clear and that the lights should be reinstated.

Council leader Low said: We already know the public views about the Catherine Street juntion. I absolutely want to see full public consultation and a full safety audit of the whole Cowgate scheme but the decision about the Catherine Street junction to me is absolutely clear-cut. It is entirely obvious what needs to be done.

“What we are asking for is as a matter of urgency is that officers bring back their report to this council indicating proposals for the reinstatement of the lights at Catherine Street.”

He added: “I am not clear if the Lib Dem group are or are not in favour of reinstating the traffic lights.”

But Councillor Murray insisted the situation was less clear, saying more consultation was needed.

She said: “I have spoken to people in the community who are very concerned about the scheme and the future of Kirkintilloch Town Centre.

“I have also spoken to people who think that the road scheme is good and that is why it is important that we have proper consultation as part of this process and not just go with the SNP’s motion.”

Following the meeting council leader Gordan Low said: “As we discussed a range of considerations on the town centre in Kirkintilloch, it was agreed that officers should produce a technical report, with the options and related costs associated with reinstating the lights at the junction between Catherine Street and Kerr street.

“Council will then consider this report before determining the next steps for this junction in the Kirkintilloch town centre.”