Angry campaigners vow to fight on in road war
South Lanarkshire Council yesterday ( Tuesday) approved the controversial £ 21million Cathkin Relief Road.
But those opposed to it have vowed to fight on, saying it was “the first skirmish in an ongoing war.”
There were no seats left in the public gallery as residents opposed to the road turned out in force at a planning meeting at the council’s HQ in Hamilton.
The road will run through woods linking the junction of Burnside Road and Cathkin Bypass with Fernhill Road near to Croftfoot Road.
It will run along the route of the existing Fernhill Road to a new junction at Mill Street, where it will meet the realigned Blairbeth Road.
The item had drawn 466 letters of objection and a petition against it gained almost 1400 signatures.
The road will be delivered as part of the £1.3billion City Deal package for the greater Glasgow area
South Lanarkshire Council engineer manager Colin Park said he recognised the level of opposition to the road, but said those with an interest had had many opportunities to provide feedback and voice their concerns.
He pointed to a meeting in Fernhill Community Centre last November where over 450 people attended.
He added that the council had a responsibilty to manage traffic flow and the road would increase their ability to do that and it would be of economic benefit to the surrounding communities.
He said: “This would help traffic flow along the Stonelaw Road and Blairbeth corridors. As a result of people not waiting at junctions as long, the air quality could be improved.”
Alan McLennan represented the Cathkin Relief Road Opposition group who carried out the petition against the road.
He said the increase in noise and air pollution and the loss of green space “far outweighed any perceived benefits the new road might bring”.
He also pointed to the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) in 2007, on which the case for the road was based, saying it was “outdated” since the construction of the M74.
Mr McLennan also argued the loss of green space between Fernhill and High Burnside would be highly detrimental, adding: “It is the only usable green space within walking distance for the community, a community that has endured a dwindling green belt over recent years.”
After the meeting, residents who live around the road were left distraught.
Alice Dempster (46) lives on Laurel Drive and said: “So many people are opposed to this road but they don’t care, they had made their minds up before this meeting.
“I don’t know how they could look Alan in the eye when he was speaking.”
But Mr McClennan, said: “That was just the first skirmish in an ongoing war.
“They’re not listening to what the people want. The people who live around this road are the people our elected representatives are not listening to. The next step is to approach the City Deal funding. We have to present them a case where we think this is not value for money.”