Shared space: Call for public meeting

24-03-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres. Kirkintilloch. Protest outside Council HQ over Catherine Street junction. Councillors arriving for meeting to decide on plans for junction. Sandy Taylor Visually Impaired Forum

A call has been made for a proper public meeting to be held as scepticism grows 
over the new consultation 
relating to Kirkintilloch’s 
divisive shared space.

The call comes after only a few people are believed to have turned up to special “workshop” and “drop-in” events organised by Kirkintilloch Community Council, who are heading the consultation.

The Herald understands the consultation is costing around £12,000.

In a letter to the Herald last week, Torrance resident Nial Campbell said that “a public meeting by Kirkintilloch Community Council would have gained the voice of the 
community for little outlay”.

The community council is leading the process to gauge public opinion in conjunction with planning consultants Kevin Murray Associates of Glasgow.

Mr Campbell added: “I would also like to ask why the Kirkintilloch Community Council, as the voice of the community it serves, has not been more vocal in the condemnation of the removal of the traffic lights in Kirkintilloch?”

A separate consultation on the Catherine St/Kerr St junction is being carried out by East Dunbartonshire Council within the next few weeks.

A former member of 
the community council has also hit out at the new consultation.

Stewart Mann stated: “I see the Kirkintilloch community council is having a consultation on the shared space. Why? We have had 
people complaining about it since it began and nothing has been done.

“The community council isn’t even consulting on the most complained about part, the Catherine Street lights.

“I must also point out the community council is a toothless organisation. It has no powers. All it will do is have the consultation and past it onto, guess who, the council.”

Last week, the Herald reported that an online survey, organised by the community council as part of the consultation, failed to ask specificially about safety issues relating to the shared space.

The community council’s interim chairman Gordon Carmichael agreed and said: “Safety should have been put in.”

Blind campaigner Sandy Taylor, who has been heading the campaign against the shared space, has described the new consultation as “a pointless exercise and an outrageous waste of public funds.”

He also questioned why the Catherine Street junction was a separate consultation carried out by East Dunbartonshire Council in the coming week.

While one resident posted on the Herald’s Facebook page: “It is a CON-sultation costing £12,000, at the same time as they are intending to cut workers’ retirement packages without any consultation.”

Campaigners have been battling for the shared space to be scrapped for the past three years because of safety issues.

In June last year, the council’s then SNP minority administration called for the possibility of reinstating the traffic lights at Catherine St be addressed “as a matter of urgency”.

But Lib Dem councillor Susan Murray put forward an amendment for a wider public consultation prior to any 
decision and her group was backed by Tory councillors.

When asked by the Herald about a public meeting, Councillor Susan Murray said she would ask the community council about the possibility of organising one.

More from News