Thursday, 10 January 2008

Failing Nick

Apparently the Council's Green Charter dates back to 1989. It was a pioneering statement of intent. Among its aspirations:

We will make the street environment more accessible to all, in particular by providing dropped kerbs, tactile paving, and other facilities to meet the special needs of people with disabilities.

But of course for a statement like that to have any meaning the Council of the time, and successive Councils, should have required an audit of every street, in order to identify problems and implement solutions. And none has done any such thing. Which creates problems for people like Nick Bishop:

I'm a 20-year-old student with cerebral palsy, and I've used a wheelchair all my life.

Lowered kerbs are often nowhere near low enough; frequently, too, they are obstructed by cars.

I'm never quite sure if the pavements will be suitable for my wheelchair.

If Nick Bishop came to the London Borough of Waltham Forest he would find himself facing numerous obstructions. For example: a driveway has at some point been created across the pavement on Erskine Road E17, close to the junction with Melville Road. No consideration has been given to wheelchair users, who are faced by two large kerbs. Nearby is another entrance with similar kerbs. It’s been like that for years. That’s four obstructions in the space of a few yards, rendering the footway unusable for people like Nick Bishop.