Res­i­dents driven to start pe­ti­tion

Anger at road plans

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Hun­dreds of res­i­dents in High Burn­side and Fern­hill have told South La­nark­shire Coun­cil they don’t want the Cathkin Re­lief Road.

Nearly 500 peo­ple have signed an on­line pe­ti­tion call­ing on the au­thor­ity to re­con­sider their plans for the £21mil­lion project.

Around 450 res­i­dents liv­ing near the pro­posed route be­tween Fern­hill, to the south, and High Burn­side and Blair­beth to the north, at­tended a con­sul­ta­tion event at Fern­hill Com­mu­nity Cen­tre last Wed­nes­day.

A Face­book Group called Those Op­posed to the Cathkin Re­lief Road has been set up on Face­book and de­spite be­ing a closed group, it has al­ready at­tracted over 100 fol­low­ers.

The group was set up by lo­cal women Alice Demp­ster, Karen Heaney and Gill Gowran.

Alice (44), this week told the Re­former the road would “100 per cent af­fect us”.

The man­age­ment as­sis­tant lives on Lau­rel Walk, at the junc­tion with Larch­field Drive, and last week helped de­liver 500 leaflets to neigh­bour­ing houses urg­ing them to at­tend the con­sul­ta­tion event.

She said: “There was op­po­si­tion to this road in pre­vi­ous years as well, so why are they try­ing to re­visit it? We have a mo­tor­way that took traf­fic away from our area and we be­lieve most of the traf­fic that goes through here is lo­cal traf­fic any­way.

“Blair­beth Road is a night­mare but it’s be­cause of peo­ple tak­ing their kids to school. Since they put new traf­fic lights in though it’s been much bet­ter .

“This is a strip of green belt and the coun­cil want to rip it up and stick a road through it. We did not choose to live be­side a road.

“The coun­cil are morally wrong with this, they are go­ing against what the peo­ple here want.

“We can’t even get our street grit­ted in the win­ter, you strug­gle to get out, and the coun­cil are

cut­ting 288 jobs and cut­ting £20m from their bud­get, yet they can find £21m for this road. I know it’s dif­fer­ent bud­gets but it sim­ply doesn’t make sense.”

Alice, who urged lo­cals to ob­ject in writ­ing to the plan, was also un­happy at the way the con­sul­ta­tion event was han­dled:“I felt it was a bit of a sham­bles. I had to let­ter 500 homes to raise aware­ness, but the coun­cil only put things out via the press.”

Mem­bers of the Face­book group ex­pressed their out­rage this week.

One per­son wrote:“This was pro­posed when my par­ents moved here in the 60’s.

“I can’t be­lieve they are tak­ing the only bit of green away and I don’t think it will do much to re­duce traf­fic.”

The is­sue of the Cathkin Re­lief Road has split the com­mu­nity. We ran an on­line poll last week with 52 per cent against the road and 48 per cent for it. Burn­side Com­mu­nity Coun­cil have also said they will support the plans.

Head of South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s Roads and Trans­porta­tion Ser­vices, Gor­don Mackay, re­fused to be drawn on in­di­vid­ual is­sues but did re­spond to ac­cu­sa­tions the con­sul­ta­tion event had been poorly pub­li­cised.

He said:“It is es­ti­mated that around 450 peo­ple at­tended the event on Novem­ber 26 and we would like to thank ev­ery­one for their in­put as it will prove very use­ful in de­ter­min­ing how the project de­vel­ops.

“A num­ber of mat­ters were raised by those at­tend­ing and they are cur­rently be­ing con­sid­ered in terms of in­form­ing the de­sign and tak­ing the project for­ward.

“De­tails of the event were cov­ered by sev­eral ar­ti­cles in the Ruther­glen Re­former, lo­cal com­mu­nity coun­cils were in­formed di­rectly and the coun­cil took out an ad­vert in the news­pa­per on Novem­ber 19.

“Fur­ther de­tails were pub­lished on the coun­cil web­site and via our Twit­ter ac­count and we also un­der­stand that the mes­sage was spread by oth­ers on so­cial me­dia.“

The road has found po­lit­i­cal support.

Ruther­glen South coun­cil­lor, Robert Brown, said:“It is no se­cret that I have sup­ported the Cathkin Re­lief Road over many years be­cause I think it will re­lieve many lo­cal streets of traf­fic pres­sure and be to the pub­lic ben­e­fit.

“How­ever, there are al­ways pros and cons to any ma­jor project and I am in­tensely aware of the con­cerns of res­i­dents along parts of the line of the road.

“The road de­sign has to work well for them if it is to go ahead.”

James Kelly MSP said:“The key to me is that any plans to put the road in place con­tinue to re­flect the im­pact on lo­cal peo­ple and the lo­cal econ­omy.”

No way throughTh­ese lo­cals are dead set against the re­lief road plan

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