Campaigners take to the street

Kirky Town Centre - demonstration against new street layout. Campaigner Sandy Clark and supporters are to be interviewed by BBC TV
Kirky Town Centre - demonstration against new street layout. Campaigner Sandy Clark and supporters are to be interviewed by BBC TV

Around 100 residents demonstrated their opposition to controversial work being carried out in Kirkintilloch Town Centre last week.

The demonstration on Thursday, August 25, coincided with a visit from BBC reporter Ian Hamilton, who was filming for a story about ‘shared space’ schemes.

Kirky Town Centre - demonstration against new street layout. Campaigner Sandy Clark and supporters are to be interviewed by BBC TV

Kirky Town Centre - demonstration against new street layout. Campaigner Sandy Clark and supporters are to be interviewed by BBC TV

Mr Hamilton, who is blind, interviewed campaigner Sandy Taylor - who has led calls for the project to be scrapped.

Mr Taylor has previously issued a challenge to council leader Rhondda Geekie, and her administration colleagues, to attempt to negotiate the junction at Catherine Street while wearing a blindfold.

Over 2,000 people at the recent canal festival signed a petition to back the challenge.

But a spokesperson for Councillor Geekie told the Herald: “Council leader Rhondda Geekie has thanked Mr Taylor for the invitation, but declined.”

Mr Taylor hit back saying: “Ian Hamilton will be reporting on our campaign against the council’s ‘shared space’ scheme which is now under construction.

“The council leader and her colleagues have refused to take up my challenge of crossing the junction wearing a blindfold and completing the alternative detour, despite her claims that this scheme is suitable for everyone, regardless of age, or ability.

“Despite this boast, she currently refuses to attempt what for many of us is an impossible, or terrifying ordeal.

“If it is accessible for everyone, why does she refuse?”

Campaigners are calling for the reinstatement of three controlled crossings along Cowgate.

They say that without the crossings visually impaired people face a detour of up to 800 metres to safely cross Cowgate.

Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive - Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said: “We understand the concerns expressed in relation to the town centre improvements - particularly those expressed by the visually-impaired.

“We have listened to those concerns and a range of changes were made as a result - including controlled crossings in Catherine Street and Kerr Street, kerbs and a 20mph speed limit.

“The UK’s leading pedestrian rights charity, Living Streets, assessed plans and believes the work will lead to a better balance for pedestrians of all abilities.”