Burnley councillor campaigning to make the town safer for people with disabilities
A Burnley councillor is campaigning to make the town safer for people with disabilities.
The Trinity ward representative, who uses a wheelchair due to having a rare genetic disorder, said he is just one of numerous people with a physical impairment who struggle to navigate the borough safely.
Coun. Martyn Hurt started the campaign after hearing that many blind people fear going out and about as they are being forced to walk on the road because of numerous obstacles blocking pavements.
Coun. Hurt said: “What I was told is that blind residents are often afraid of walking around the town because there are so many issues. They are just worried about their safety.”
He added: “It can have a huge impact on your mental health. Everybody needs to be able to get out and about if they can. That’s one thing we learned in lockdown: the importance of going out. You can lose your independence, otherwise.”
The Green Party politician brought the campaign to the Full Council after hearing from blind charity Burnley Talking Newspaper about how its users struggles to navigate issues like street clutter, flat kerbs, dog muck, overgrown bushes, “poorly placed” electric car chargers and bollards. They also claim people riding bikes and E-scooters, or parking cars, on pavements, are blocking their safe passage.
The councillor said the borough has mainly flat kerbs that make it difficult for a person with a cane or guide dog to distinguish between the road and pavement, which can also lead them into traffic.
Following the meeting, the council will ask Lancashire County Council to raise the town’s kerbs and add tactile surfaces to crossing points to make it easier for blind people to tell where the pavement meets the road.
They will also ask them to: trim overgrown bushes promptly; build electric car charging points into the highway instead of on the street; and encourage residents to use the Love Clean Streets app to report these issues.
The borough council has vowed to work with residents, refuse collectors and business owners to ensure they do not block pavements with street clutter like bins, advertising boards and outdoor tables and chairs.
They will also ask both the county council and Lancashire Police to crackdown on pavement and dropped kerb parking.