‘Come clean’ on reasons behind controversial shared space, demand residents

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Residents are demanding East Dunbartonshire council leader Rhondda Geekie “comes clean” on the reasons behind the controversial shared space project for Kirkintilloch town centre.

The Herald has been inundated with complaints since work began on Monday on the scheme, which will see Cowgate closed in continuous phases for the next YEAR AND A HALF.

Concerns have ranged from a lack of pavement access to concerns for the safety of schoolchildren, problems over deliveries to local businesses, no access to St Mary’s Church and a lack of consultation.

Many are accusing the council of not listening to local people and are demanding a fuller explanation on why the project was mooted in the first place.

The initial phase sees the road closed to vehicles between Townhead Bridge and Catherine Street for three months.

One concerned resident, Jim Munro from Lenzie, has written to Councillor Geekie after reading this week’s Herald front page story highlighting people’s concerns. He also sent her a link to our article.

In his letter, he accuses the council of making decisions “without listening to local people.”

East Dunbartonshire Council voted through the project last year despite fierce opposition from thousands lof local residents.

The scheme will see vehicles and pedestrians sharing the same space the enitre length of Cowgate with no one having right of way.

Disabled groups have been among the strongest critics, accusing the council of discrimination and inequality as traffic lights and pedestrian crossings are removed.

Mr Munro added in his letter: “As a resident in nearby Lenzie, I have just read this article about Kirkintilloch’s main street.

“I realise things need to be constantly improved but I think this may be a mistake.

“Along with the demolition of Tom Johnstone house to make way for a new development including a new supermarket, I feel that these decisions are being made without listening to the local people.

“Can you explain preferably in the Kirkintilloch Herald WHY these decisions are being made? Then you will find that we might appreciate the logic for doing these things.

“Can I suggest that if you DO NOT offer an explanation to the local people, at the next council election, people will vote against you in protest.

“I really hope you take note of this as although a lot of things are being done for our benefit, we the local people would like to be asked and consulted now and again.”

But this week East Dunbartonshire Council Leader Rhondda Geekie insisted: “This is the beginning of a fresh start for Kirkintilloch town centre - helping to ensure it thrives for years to come.

“Innovative plans such as the Cowgate public realm project are essential if we are to make the town centre more accessible and desirable for all - pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and motorists.”

Neil McCallum, Scottish Director of Rainton Construction Ltd, said: “There will be a level of disruption for businesses, residents and visitors in the coming months, but we will endeavour to keep that to a minimum in partnership with the Council.”