Public asked for views on spaces for people in West Lothian

West Lothian residents are set to be asked to share their views on the future of the controversial Spaces for People measures introduced last year.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 6:00 am
Councillor Tom Conn, chair of the Environment Policy and Development Scrutiny Panel.

The seven week consultation on whether some of the measure should remain in place will be twice as long as staff had spent before putting in the original ‘temporary’ Spaces for People project at the start of the pandemic.

Councillor Tom Conn, chair of the Environment Policy and Development Scrutiny Panel (PDSP), said the measures had saved lives.

“Let’s remember the circumstances that were prevailing at the time,” he said.

“I do believe that lives were saved as a result of the measures that were introduced and I think members should remember the pressures officers were under at the time the programme was introduced.”

Members of the PDSP backed proposals for a new two-month long consultation on whether some or all of the Spaces for People measures should be retained.

Graeme Malcolm, Roads and Transportation manager with the council, responded to a question to say he wanted the consultation to be addressed by as wide a group as possible, both organisations and individuals.

The consultation was put together after a composite motion by the SNP and Tories was passed by the council last month

Spaces for People is a Scottish Government scheme that provides funding for local authorities to promote safe travel for those who walk, or cycle on our streets.

The tight timescales to apply for funding and the ongoing lockdown during Spring 2020 limited opportunities to engage with residents at the time.

Measures introduced included temporarily reducing speed limits to either 20 or 40 mph, widening footways, suspending parking and introducing new cycle lanes.

The consultation will launch on December 1 and be open until the end of January 2022, with the results of reported to a meeting of the full West Lothian Council in March 2022.

Councillor Conn, who is also the executive councillor for the Environment said: “I welcome this new and extended consultation on whether we retain all, some or none of the Spaces for People measures introduced last year."

He added: “The idea of Spaces for People was to help create safer spaces for those not in vehicles, and encourage us all to be more active.

“Some measures have already been removed and we would like to hear from members of the public and interested groups on their views on the rest of the measures currently in place.

“I hope as many residents will take part in the consultation when it launches next month and share their views on whether they would like to see Spaces for People measures retained or removed.”

Councillor Chris Horne thanked officers for the consultation plans adding: “It’s a good piece of work. We are giving citizens a chance to have their voices heard properly.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​