COUNCILLORS have backed residents’ pleas for pavements to be installed along a street in Rhu which is the subject of fears over public safety.

Residents of the village told Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee of their concerns surrounding Pier Road and the perceived need for a pavement to be built.

A white line is supposed to enforce a pedestrian walkway, but vehicles regularly drive along it, and calls are now being made for funding for a pavement to be sought.

The committee was also told the white line itself is being worn away – though the meeting heard that it is hoped it will be repainted by the end of January.

It was also stated at the meeting that the white line is disappearing, but the committee heard it is hoped to have it re-painted by the end of January.

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Rhu resident John McGall told the committee: “The road carriageway is sub-standard in terms of width and there is a section entirely without a footpath and outwith current design standards.

“Two short-space lanes are incorporated, further reducing the road lane width.

“These lanes do not comply with the requirements of the Equality Act and force pedestrians to turn their backs on oncoming traffic.

“Encroachment by traffic into lanes is a common everyday occurrence, with pedestrians prevented from stepping out of harm’s way by a grass embankment and a stone wall. These effectively trap them there.

“It is used as a timber haulage route, with hundreds of timber journeys per year, and the industry suggests it will go on.

“Pier Road is part of the Highland Road, a popular tourist attraction, but it is also a route for children and residents on the A814. It is probably the busiest residential route with traffic, with over 100 vehicles per hour.

“These figures are likely to increase significantly when congestion takes place on the A814.

“Those with local knowledge see it as a way of bypassing delays and the increased risk to pedestrians has had a negative effect on the community.

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“We see many local residents being forced to give up their use of it due to the risk of serious injury.

“This was confirmed in May when a Police Scotland traffic officer assessed the situation first hand.

“The shared use of Pier Road was a significant concern and pedestrian safety was being compromised, and it was recommended that action should be taken.

“Jim Smith [the council’s head of amenity services] was also in attendance and said that if he could give us a payment there and then, he would, but we needed to get funding place.

“In the opinion of residents, this shared lane is no longer fit for purpose and it is therefore essential for safety to ensure that a pavement is constructed.”

Mr McGall also claimed that a resident who owns roughly 30 per cent of the land had offered to donate it for free for a pavement to be built.

When Lomond North councillor Iain S. Paterson asked for details of an incident that had taken place, Mr McGall continued: “There was a resident walking with their back to the traffic who was nearly struck by a vehicle.

"It was only due to the actions of a vehicle going the other way that she was not hit.

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“It is very difficult at these moments to identify the number plate of a person driving, so incidents like this have not resulted in any further action.”

“To have an offence of reckless driving you need to have hit a pedestrian. It is not being reported; people are voting with their feet.”

Councillor George Freeman said: “I agree with everything that has been said. This is an ongoing issue.

“I have a copy of the report from the road policing department at Dumbarton, and clearly they have said that the safety of pedestrians is compromised.

“At this area committee a number of years ago, it was agreed to have a white line put on the road to create a walkway, but vehicles drive on it all the time.

“One of the actions agreed in May was to identify funding by contacting SUSTRANS, but we have had no feedback.

“There is now virtually nothing to be seen by way of white lines. It continues to be a hazard and it is essential that the council looks to identify funding.”

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Councillor Barbara Morgan, chairing the meeting in the absence of Ellen Morton, said: “I went and saw it myself at different times of the year, because it has been brought up at the community council numerous times.

“I am aware of the concerns and I can see why you are coming forward with them. Thank you for doing so.”

Councillor Morgan added that she would refer the matter to the relevant council officer to be followed up.

Councillor Aileen Morton added: “The only thing I would say is that we have had a really unfortunate turnover of roads officers. I have had notification of two new ones in the last few weeks.

“Hopefully we will see the work carried out in the next few weeks. I have walked that road myself and I am happy for it to be looked into.

“However, there is a very similar road in my ward, Victoria Road, which I have tried to pursue for a number of years, and it is a long, slow process because of ownership issues.”

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