Nov 25 2011 by Amanda Mckendrick, Lennox Herald (main ed)
DUMBARTON Town Centre could once again be closed to cars – if a councillor gets his way.
Geoff Calvert has put forward a motion to West Dunbartonshire Council asking for bus and taxi traffic only to be allowed along the High Street.
But business owners in the town insists there is no support for the proposal and believe it will be rejected.
Dumbarton councillor Calvert insists he is acting on behalf of residents frustrated at the congestion in the town, and says the issue has been raised at meetings of Westbridgend Tenants and Residents Association and two Dumbarton community councils, as well as on Save Dumbarton High Street’s Facebook page.
He said: “People are concerned about this and particularly so because they know the Artizan Bridge is going to be closed next year and traffic directed through the High Street.
“Last week it was raised again at the Dumbarton budget meeting with people saying the congestion is terrible.
“It’s now about time this was looked at. I have spoken to the roads department and they have confirmed that it ought not to be difficult to get a report on this at short notice.
“If the report comes back that money will need to be spent on this then we will be able to get the money in the budget for next year.
“I know there were some businesses who opposed this when it was implemented last time around but the fact is it’s people who go into shops – not cars – and if the traffic gets so bad people will avoid the High Street.”
But Robert Ryan, of Business for Dumbarton, said any further change to the traffic management of the High Street would have to take the viability of the town centre into consideration.
He added: “To go back to a system which the public and then a detailed study rejected is not acceptable. I’m disappointed that Councillor Calvert has proposed this without recourse to the Town Centre Forum of which he and I are both members.
“I’m confident, however, that the proposal will be rejected and that a workable solution will be found through discussion and consultation.”
The ban on cars was implemented in 2005 but reversed in December 2008 in a bid to breathe new life into Dumbarton’s ailing town centre.
Council leader Ronnie McColl said this week: “I think we do need to take stock and look at things in the High Street as there is some congestion there and it was mentioned to me at the recent budget consultation public meetings.
“There is, however, another side to it and over the weekend I have received an email from businesses who clearly want to make sure there is traffic coming through the High Street as they lost 30 per cent of footfall when the traffic management system was in place.”