An­gry cam­paign­ers vow to fight on in road war

Rutherglen Reformer - - OWL ON SHOW - Will Hen­shaw

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.”

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