Shops support bring back cars plea in Kilsyth

A DECLINE in footfall in one of Kilsyth’s main shopping precincts has prompted concerned businesses to petition for cars to be allowed into the pedestrianised area.

Saturday, 25th August 2012, 6:00 pm

Motorists cannot access Kilsyth Main Street at present, and the area is designed to allow emergency vehicles only through.

But Kilsyth Community Council and businesses want that to change as they fear the current design is putting shoppers off coming into the town centre.

Scott Johnson, chairman of Kilsyth Community Council, said: “Footfall is falling, shops are closing and the option of doing nothing is not an option.”

The community council believe that the town centre offers convenience shopping and by removing cars from the area, it is driving people away.

At a meeting of the community council on Wednesday, August 15, members heard that Mathiesons Bakery has closed, Blockbuster is planning to shut up shop and three more businesses have signalled that they will not renew their leases when they are up.

The community council and businesses are therefore proposing that Kilsyth Main Street adopts a shared space model similar to one used in Exhibition Road in London’s Chelsea and Kensington borough.

This would give cars access to the shops and make them more convenient to the people using them.

A total of 37 out of 39 businesses in the town centre have signed a petition to show their support for the plans but North Lanarkshire Council has confirmed it will not alter the current road system at present.

Paul Jukes, executive director of environmental services at NLC, said: “Significant investment has been made to improve the town centre and surrounding areas over the past number of years and this included the main street becoming a pedestrian area.

“When the main street was re-designed, provision was made to allow access for emergency vehicles and the paving and blocking installed is for pedestrian use only. We have no plans to alter the current road system, but will continue to work with local businesses to further improve the shopping experience in the town.”