Kerse Road Bridge Closure Gets Go-Ahead

Kerse Road Bridge
Kerse Road Bridge

Network Rail have cleared a significant hurdle in their plan to fully replace the bridge over the rail tracks at Kerse Road.  Stirling Council’s “Environment and Housing” Committee voted 4-2 to grant a “road closure” order, adding to the Planning Permission Network Rail were granted last month.  The order was granted subject to the successful conclusion of a programme of works to mitigate the effects on road safety and community inconvenience during the closure.  Kerse Road Bridge is on one of the city’s main arterial routes, accommodating around 22,000 vehicle movements every day.

2018 timetable for works

A temporary bridge will be built to ensure pedestrian and cycle access will be maintained at all times.  Motor vehicles will face the following restrictions:

  • January – March 2018:  the route will be reduced to one lane, accommodating traffic heading OUT of the city.
  • April – September 2018:  the route will be fully closed while the current two lane bridge is replaced with a new three-lane bridge
  • October – December 2018:  the route will reopen to two way traffic, with narrow lanes and speed restrictions
  • Christmas 2018:  All restrictions will be lifted and the route will be open.  There will be two further weekend closures to allow finishing work including road marking, and to remove all of the equipment associated with the project.

Official Diversion Route

Stirling Council are legally obliged to designate an official diversion route for all traffic.  This route must start and finish at the closure point.  For illustration, the official route would require drivers who wish to get from Aldi to Waitrose to travel out of the city to the motorway junction roundabout (the one with Granada Services) and then travel down the Glasgow Road and onto the Burghmuir Road.

Mitigation Measures for Braehead & Broomridge

Everybody, including council officials, recognise that drivers with local knowledge will use their own diversion routes, meaning some roads are expected to see a significant increase in traffic volumes.  This includes the Pike Road-Broom Road-Linden Avenue corridor.  Stirling Council and Network Rail have been working closely with the local Community Council and have agreed the following mitigation measures:

  • Pike Road:  Speed activated signs warning drivers going faster than 30mph to slow down.
  • Broom Road:  a new zebra crossing to link the two bus stops at Carrick Court
  • Linden Avenue:  a new zebra crossing near to the junction with Afton Court
  • Linden Avenue:  a new zebra crossing near to the junction with Valleyfield Place
  • Pike Road & Linden Avenue:  more prominent signage informing drivers that there is a 7.5 tonne weight restriction meaning only vehicles making deliveries within the area over this weight may use the roads.

Comment

Stirling East Councillor Chris Kane says,

“Network Rail initially presented a totally unacceptable thirteen month full closure of the bridge. Through a lot of hard work from Stirling Council officers and intense lobbying by Braehead Community Councillors and elected councillors, this has been negotiated to a six month full closure with significant mitigation measures on affected roads.

Road safety is my number one priority and the proposed series of mitigation measures will go a long way to securing this, as will the clear commitment from Network Rail and Stirling Council to spring into immediate action if something unexpected happens. 

This will have to be monitored extremely carefully and regular, meaningful communication with communities and affected businesses throughout the closure.   Network Rail have been told that their level of engagement with businesses in Springkerse is not up to scratch and they have committed to an immediate improvement in communication.

While this closure will cause a huge inconvenience for local residents and Springkerse companies, it is important to remember that Stirling is open for business and ready to give our usual welcome to tourists and day trippers.  The further away from the closure you are the more time you’ll have to react to the diversionary signs.  Visitors traveling to or from the motorway network really shouldn’t notice much, if any, time added to their journey. 

Nobody thinks this is an ideal situation but at the end of the process we’re going to have a bigger, better bridge and an electrified railway with better, faster more environmentally friendly trains.”

Braehead Plant & Flower Show A Great Success

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Over 200 people attended Braehead Community Garden’s Flower and Vegetable show on Sunday.  The second annual event saw both garden members and local residents showing the fruits of their labour over the last few months.  There were 100 classes of entry covering everything from cut flowers to trusses of tomatoes.

 

 

 

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The 2017 prizewinners with Provost Christine Simpson

Alasdair Forsyth picked up the prize for most points in the new chilli section, winning with exotic sounding entries including the Peruvian lemon drop chilli, the nu-mex twilight chilli, the Bulgarian carrot chilli and the peach habanerao hybrid chilli.

Alasdair Forsyth receives his rosette from Provost Christine Simpson - check out the t-shirt!
Alasdair Forsyth receives his rosette from Provost Christine Simpson – check out the t-shirt!

Jim Kirk won the inaugural photography section (many of the pictures on this page are his creations!), although ten year old Katie Kane triumphied in the “portrait of a pet” category with a picture of her hamster Izzy.

Ten year old Katie Kane's prize winning shot of hamster Izzy in the "Portrait of a Pet" category
Ten year old Katie Kane’s prize winning shot of hamster Izzy in the “Portrait of a Pet” category

Overall, for the second year running, Garden member Elaine Lewis won the “Braehead Cup” for the most points accrued over all categories and classes.

Elaine Lewis (holding son Connor) receiving the "Braehead Cup" from Provost Christine Simpson
Elaine Lewis (holding son Connor) receiving the “Braehead Cup” from Provost Christine Simpson

Community Garden Chairperson, and Stirling East Councillor, Chris Kane, said

“We’re doing our bit here at Braehead to reintroduce simple gardening skills and give people the confidence to try growing their own food and then have fun sharing and showing what they’ve produced.  But more than that, we’re also showing that just as you don’t have to be a musician to appreciate music, you don’t have to be a gardener to appreciate a garden.  It’s been wonderful to see so many people visit and appreciate all the hard work and simply to soak up the atmosphere in what our members know is a wonderful, inspirational community space.” 

Provost Christine Simpson was on hand to present the prizes and talk with the winners.

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The next public event at the Community Garden is the Pumpkin Festival on Sunday 29th October, with pumpkin carving workshops, pumpkin cooking workshops and a wonderful nighttime display of all the pumpkin creations.  The event is free and more details will be posted here nearer the time.

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List of Winners

Overall Winner:  1st Elaine Lewis;  2nd Jim Clark;  3rd Aileen Hall

Vegetables:  1st Jim Clark; 2nd Elaine Lewis;  3rd Braehead Market Gardeners

Fruit:  1st Elaine Lewis;  2nd Barbara Anderson / Alasdair Forsyth;  3rd Aileen Hall / Jimmy McArthur / Wendy Mclean

Chillies:  1st Alasdair Forsyth;  2nd Alasdair Kerr;  3rd Anne Kerr

Flowers:  1st Elaine Lewis;  2nd Maureen McArthur;  3rd Wendy Mclean

Homemade:  1st Jennifer Mackay; 2nd Elaine Lewis;  3rd Aileen Brown / Rosa & Greg Huczynski

Photography:  1st Jim Kirk;  2nd Aileen Hall;  3rd Ailsa & Matty Power

Children’s Section:  1st Cora Lewis; 2nd Connor Lewis / Holly Power / Archie & Kirsty Anderson; 3rd Penny Rae

World’s Hottest Chilli Variety on display at Braehead Flower Show this weekend. 

Braehead gardener Alasdair Forsyth is gearing up for this weekend’s Braehead Flower Show, where he’s in with a great chance of winning the “Hottest Chilli” category.  Alasdair has successfully grown a “Carolina Reaper”, officially the world’s hottest chilli.  Measured on the ‘Scoville Scale’, it is 300 times hotter than the jalapenos you would expect to find on a plate of nachos.

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Alasdair says,

“This is a really intense chilli and you’d be crazy to eat it in one go.  Once finely chopped up, there’s enough chilli here to make dozens of really, really hot curries.”

The Carolina Reaper chilli is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the hottest ever, beating other plants with names as colourful as the chillies they grow, including the “Trinidad Scorpion”, the “Scotch Bonnet” and the “Naga Viper”. Alasdair has been growing chillies for over 20 years and added,

“Every year I try to cultivate a good few varieties because I love the different colours and different plants.  The Carolina Reaper is a hard one to grow because the plant can get to a metre tall and you’ll only get one or two chillies.  But if you grow something like a Demon Red, you’ll get lots of little chillies on a plant you can keep at the kitchen window.   They make fantastic presents, as long as you remember to warn everybody to be careful!”

Alasdair is one of dozens of local growers hoping their creations ripen at just the right time for the annual event, this year on Sunday 27 August.  With over 100 different categories covering carrots, cauliflowers, courgettes and more, if you’ve got a potential prize-winner growing in your garden, organisers want to remind you that the event is open to all growers, not just those in Braehead.

Community Garden Chairperson, and Stirling East Councillor, Chris Kane, says,

“I thought the honeybees were the most dangerous things at Braehead Community Garden, but now I’m not so sure! Our first Flower Show was a great success, but it is obvious listening to everybody that the competition has ratcheted up a notch or two for 2017.  This is a great community event and whether you are a competitor or a spectator, I hope you’ll come and join us at Braehead on Sunday.   

As well as chillies, fruit, vegetables and flowers, the show also includes categories covering everything from crafts, photography and home baking.  You can download a full schedule here.   Or if you’d simply like to see the entries or visit the award winning two and a half acre Braehead Community Garden, the Flower show is open to the public from 1.30pm-4pm, with the presentation of prizes at 3.30pm.