Council hits back at MSP’s claims

Council chiefs and an MSP have clashed over controversial plans for one of the busiest junctions in Kirkintilloch.

The ‘shared space scheme’, part of a ‘masterplan’ for the town centre, has already been raised in the Scottish Parliament by Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod.

In last week’s Herald we reported on concerns raised by Ms McLeod about the impact plans for the town centre, and in particular the removal of traffic lights from Catherine Street junction, would have on her constituents.

She feared the scheme would ‘alienate’ the disabled, elderly and those suffering from dementia from the town centre and called for the council to ‘think again’.

But East Dunbartonshire Council leader Rhondda Geekie says the masterplan has been designed to make the town centre more attractive for everyone - shoppers, traders, residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.

She said: “Contrary to comments reported in the Herald it will make the town centre more accessible - not less.

“We will strike a new balance between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers by removing street clutter, narrowing carriageways, widening footways and reducing traffic speed to a maximum of 20mph.

“Also contrary to comments reported last week, there will still be controlled crossings and traffic lights - both in Catherine Street and Kerr Street, in addition to courtesy crossings throughout Cowgate.

“It was further claimed that the project ‘flies in the face’ of our dementia policy. That is incorrect. The council has fully adhered to all national design policy and guidance throughout this process - and set up an Equality Design Forum, featuring a range of local groups and experts.

“The project has also undergone an independent Road Safety Audit (RSA) which did not raise objections.The Catherine Street junction trial of August-September 2014 also underwent two independent RSAs which did not raise objections.”