Council responds to angry call by residents to “come clean” on shared space project

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East Dunbartonshire Council has responded to a call by residents to “come clean” on the reasons behind the contentious shared space project for Kirkintilloch.

Councillor Alan Moir, Convener of Development and Generation, said the council was “committed to addressing the decline” of the town centre.

He added: “Around £2 million is being invested in the town centre, with support from Sustrans and Strathclyde Passenger Transport.”

The Herald has been inundated with complaints since work began last week on the first stage of the project which will see Cowgate closed in continuous phases for 18 months.

Councillor Moir said: “In response to the request to ‘come clean’ I am pleased to be able to reiterate the council’s intentions.

“We are committed to addressing the decline of all of our town centres by creating the environment that

encourages local people and businesses to use these centres.

“Across the whole of Scotland we have seen a decline in town centres as patterns of retail and traditional uses change.

“The work in Kirkintilloch aims to give the town the opportunity to attract people and businesses back into the area by creating a safe and attractive environment.

“The Masterplan dates back to November 2011 and since then we have engaged with around 7,000 people - including a range of community groups, charities and stakeholders.

“Initial consultation from November 2011-January 2012 was clear - residents and businesses wished to see the town become more pedestrian-friendly whilst also having improved sustainable transport links.

“It was also felt that town centre works should address congestion and give preferential treatment to public transport.

“Plans have been influenced by a pilot exercise which took place in August-September 2014 at Catherine Street, feedback from community workshops, the formation of the Kirkintilloch Town Centre Masterplan Champions Group in August 2012, drop-in sessions, an online survey,

questionnaires, pop-up events and more.

“The Council also set up an Equality Design Forum, which involved a range of contributors - including representatives of people with sensory

impairments.

“That resulted in significant amendments, including the addition of controlled crossings on Catherine and Kerr Streets.

“It is inaccurate to say no-one will have right of way on Cowgate - the usual rules of the Highway Code will apply.

“Works will not create a shared space or a shared surface.

“The design is influenced by similar design philosophies but there will still be controlled crossings and traffic lights on Catherine Street, Kerr Street and at Barleybank, as well as a 20mph limit, raised kerb, 60mm and 20mm where there are raised tables – tactile/textured surfaced edging and raised table areas with courtesy crossing points.

“Around £2million is being invested in the town centre, with support from Sustrans and SPT.”