A Kinross community group has backed calls for a halt to town centre shared spaces due to the impact of their own controversial High Street regeneration work.

A petition has gone before the Scottish Parliament asking for a moratorium on shared space and shared surface schemes in Scotland.

The petition was lodged by Sandy Taylor of the East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum.

Kinross received its own shared space as part of a £1 million regeneration project that the council hoped would improve the appearance of the High Street and inject new life into the town — but it has come in for heavy criticism.

Mr Taylor said local councils seem to be “implementing shared space schemes with a total disregard for the rights of disabled people who face direct discrimination.”

He added: “The removal of traffic lights and controlled crossings make it impossible for many visibly impaired and disabled people to access their town centres.

“Shared space schemes are designing many blind, deaf-blind, disabled, and other vulnerable people out of their town centres as, due to uncontrolled courtesy crossings, they can no longer access their High Street.”

Kinross-shire Civic Trust has backed Mr Taylor’s petition after receiving complaints about the impact of the Kinross High Street shared space scheme.

Chairman Alistair Smith said: “The Kinross-shire Civic Trust had concerns about the detail of the new Kinross High Street design and raised their concerns on safety with Perth and Kinross Council through the planning process.

“Now the works are complete, from the reactions of many users, it is evident that the position taken by the trust was correct and it is well established that concern for pedestrian safety has become a serious issue.

“The trust is continuing to support attempts to have the adopted scheme revised and improved.”

Fellow trust member Ken Miles claimed that the Kinross High Street works had increased safety risks to pedestrians as the road remains the main route through the town for most traffic.

He said: “Cars and heavy goods, including car transporters and buses, still pass through the High Street.

“As a result the shared space principle, whereby pedestrians can own the road space on equal terms with traffic, is not possible, unless you have a death wish that is.”

SOURCE: The Courrier

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