This cash windfall is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring together citizens, the voluntary and social enterprise sectors, businesses and public agencies to develop an inspiring, forward looking, broader vision for the town.Kirsten Robb
South Lanarkshire Greens are calling on the council's City Deal capital projects to be scrapped and the process started again to ensure the money is spent on projects that reflect the real needs and aspirations of local people.
The Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal has been funded by UK, Scottish and local government. As part of the deal, South Lanarkshire Council are promoting £100 million of road expansion projects at the Cathkin bypass, the Stewartfield Way and fly over at Nerston and finally the part dualling of the Strathaven and Greenhills Roads.
After visiting the recent public event about the work to be undertaken on the Strathaven and Greenhills roads ( see image above or click more detailed images from the exhibition), Green council candidate (EK East), Kirsten Robb, has raised concerns about the extreme lack of consultation on City Deal projects and is recommending that the road expansion schemes are shelved. She says that a much more open and inclusive process should be started to identify projects that benefit local people and the local economy to a far greater extent.
"This cash windfall is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring together citizens, the voluntary and social enterprise sectors, businesses and public agencies to develop an inspiring, forward looking, broader vision for the town. I'm disappointed that South Lanarkshire Council did not take this opportunity, but instead are revisiting road projects trawled up from the past. The event last week was the first time the public have had any input into the City Deal process. Even now, I was told that the plans would not be available on line but are expected to go to committee for approval in April. This is simply too late and not good enough for any council wishing to be transparent, outward looking and utlimately, successful.
However, it's not too late, for East Kilbride at least. Other authorities have taken a better approach and a wider view of economic development. Stirling, for example, have funded projects such as new public transport and active travel links, small business and social enterprise spaces, housing, a city park and a cultural quarter.
East Kilbride has numerous challenges but also major opportunities with our college and business expertise in modern, green and digital technology. These challenges and opportunities can only be addressed by a better, more open response to City Deal - and we will all reap the rewards. Projects like a massive expansion of social housing, schemes to eliminate fuel poverty, affordable spaces for new enterprises, and investment in public transport, walking and cycling networks are just a few areas that will create lasting jobs, tackle poverty and improve health whilst improving the local economy. It's time to scrap these road expansion projects and start again."