Church users caught up in roadworks chaos

The shared space roadworks have completely blocked off the entrance to St Marcy's Church.
The shared space roadworks have completely blocked off the entrance to St Marcy's Church.

The minister of a town 
centre church used by 
hundreds of people says East Dunbartonshire Council failed to inform him there would be no access to the building for three months.

The Rev Mark Johnstone of St Mary’s Church at Cowgate 
told the Herald it was left to a workman to tell him the driveway would be fenced 
off for three months while the road was dug up for the controversial shared space project.

Mr Johnstone has now written to council leader Rhondda Geekie demanding an explanation.

He said: “We checked and checked our past emails, but there was nothing.

“The first we knew about it was when a workmen appeared at the nursery and mentioned it.”

This, he said, was less than a week before the work began.

He added: “We knew landscape work was to take place, but we didn’t expect the access to our church to be closed.

“We have had no consultation. I have asked Councillor Geekie to direct me to the person we should speak to. Hundreds of people use our church every week, day and night, from parishioners on a Sunday to guides, scouts, sports clubs, the guild. It is used from 8am until about 10.30pm daily.”

Funeral hearses and wedding cars will now be forced to navigate through Barleybank car park to get to the church.

The building also has oil heating and the minister fears deliveries will be hampered.

Mr Johnstone says he is particularly concerned that emergency fire and ambulances will have no access.

He said: “How will they get in? The workmen are having to dig deep trenches in front of the church.” He added: “We all genuinely want Kirkintilloch to be a thriving town. I hope this roads project will bring some benefit to the town but I’m just not feeling it.”

In response to Mr Johnstone’s complaints, Thomas Glen, Director of Development and Regeneration, said: “St Mary’s Parish Church was notified in advance by our contractor Rainton Construction.

“However, we accept that further discussions are needed to ensure the church and its parishioners are not adversely affected during this phase of construction.

Members of the project team have arranged to meet with the minister to discuss any concerns.

Another potentially serious incident occurred at 3pm today outside of the school. A vehicle, unlawfully parked in the yellow markings, suffered what appears was a handbrake failure and rolled towards the gate and emerging children. Only by the actions of parents on the pavement blocking the vehicles path was a potential disaster avoided.

The details of this have been passed to the authorities.

Can we once again ask ALL parents and carers to refrain from stopping in the marked area. This, we know, is inconvenient particularly in bad weather but it is for your children’s safety.