Shared space: ‘It is now time for action’

14-08-2016 -  KIRKINTILOCH. Catherine Junction. Sandy Taylor and Michael Pringle
14-08-2016 - KIRKINTILOCH. Catherine Junction. Sandy Taylor and Michael Pringle

Two staunch opponents of Kirkintilloch’s shared space travelled to Downing Street yesterday (Tuesday) to petition the Prime Minister.

Moodiesburn dad Michael Pringle, whose three-year-old son Clinton was killed by a van driver on a shared space road layout in Jersey last year, has teamed up with blind campaigner Sandy Taylor from Kirkintilloch to appeal to the PM to ban the controversial schemes.

They will be joined in London by fellow campaigners from throughout the UK.

Their trip comes after a special Scottish seminar concluded recently that kerbs and crossings should be retained in such schemes and that Scotland should lead the way in re-writing the guidance to ensure access for all and 
safety is at the heart of planning policy.

Mr Taylor, who has been spearheading the campaign against the shared space at Cowgate, told the Herald on Monday: “It is now time for action, which is why this delegation is visiting 10 Downing Street”.

In August last year, just weeks after his toddler son was killed by 39-year-old Rebekah Le Gal, who received an eight-month suspended jail sentence for careless driving in a section of ‘shared space’ road, Clinton’s dad Michael expressed concern over the safety of the controversial project in Kirkintilloch town centre.

At the time he said: “Children and the disabled will not feel safe here and visitors from elsewhere will find it really confusing.”

A year on, Michael says he remains astonished at how much money has been spent on a road layout that “no one wants” and everyone he speaks to says is “not safe”.

East Dunbartonshire Council and environment group Sustrans jointly 
financed the contentious new £3.1 million road layout along the whole of Cowgate.

Michael said on Monday: “I’m up in Kirkintilloch quite often. I don’t know how to approach the junction at Catherine Street. It’s like a stand-off.

“No one I have spoken to wants it. It’s only a matter of time before something very serious happens. It only takes one driver not to be paying attention.”

The Pringle family are contesting the verdict of the Jersey court after Le Gal was originally found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Michael added: “These layouts may look nice but aesthetics should never be the most 
important aspect of road design, safety should be paramount.

“Drivers need to be more vigilant when approaching these types of area but as our family has found 
out that isn’t always the case. 
Clinton paid with his life”.

In June this year, East Dunbartonshire Council’s new minority SNP administration argued that the possibility of reinstating traffic lights at the Catherine Street junction be addressed “as a matter of 
urgency.”

But Lib Dem councillor Susan Murray put forward an amendment for further consultation with the public prior to any decision.

Mr Taylor accused her of “trying to score political points” to ensure her Lib Dem party claim credit for 
“doing what the vast number of the people Kirkintilloch are demanding — now”.

A report from council officers on the prospect of reinstating traffic lights at the busy Catherine Street junction is due to be considered by councillors at a meeting on Thursday, September 21.