A BARRHEAD councillor has slammed plans to keep one of the town’s busiest roads closed for the next 18 months.

Paul Aitken says he was shocked to discover a key section of Springfield Road is to be shut to drivers until the autumn of 2022.

East Renfrewshire Council had announced in December that part of Springfield Road between Barrhead and Neilston, including the Five Ways roundabout, would be closed for 28 weeks from January.

This was to allow an upgrade as part of a major 316 housing development by Taylor Wimpey.

Now the council has told elected officials that the restrictions on cars, lorries and vans is to be extended until the latter part of next year.

Councillor Aitken, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor as an Independent, said: “I do not support this proposal.

“This section of Springfield Road is one of the main artery roads linking Barrhead and Neilston.

“Over the next few months, the national and local economy will hopefully be reopening and returning to something approaching normality. Closing this section of Springfield Road until autumn 2022 does not help the reopening of the local economy and does not help the residents who live in that vicinity who have to use their cars, by necessity.

“I struggle to follow some of the justifications and fail to see how closing Springfield Road in any way assists local residents who need to use their cars.”

Councillor Aitken believes the extended road closure plan is a sign the local authority is pandering to the green lobby.

“I think this is a measure designed to suit cyclists at the expense of motorists,” he said.

“While residents have put up with the closures without complaint, that is not evidence they are in favour of the closures.

“I do not understand why they need a further road closure of 18 months. For a temporary measure, this seems an unreasonably long period of time.

“Do the council think that, if they carry on with the closure, people will forget it was only meant to be for a few months?”

Taylor Wimpey has previously said the current upgrade is “essential” and will result in safer roads, pedestrian crossing points, improved surfaces and better visibility.

The sprawling new development will include low-cost properties to buy, as well as 24 council houses, and the company is contributing £2million towards Barrhead community projects, including the Dams to Darnley Country Park, as part of the deal.

A council spokesperson said: “The proposed 18-month trial forms part of our Spaces for People measures to provide safe routes for walking and cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Before any decision is taken on the proposed measures, we will undertake a consultation with the local community, commencing in early March, to provide the public with an opportunity to share their views with us.”