AS someone who needs a wheeled walker to get about I know that varying slopes, differing levels and extremely varied and uneven paved surfaces do indeed make it hazardous to wheel anything in the city centre.

I feel for Bonita Simpson and her wheelchair-bound son, and, like them, I too wonder how anyone on their own in an electric wheelchair could possibly manage.

I note that the recent Broad Street questionnaire was illustrated with people wheeling prams and using wheelchairs – how much thought was actually given to this?


Blind people do need to be able to detect kerbs and crossing places etc, and pavements do need to slope slightly for rainwater to drain quickly away. What, however, is the justification for the suddenly steeper gradient in the pavement slope outside Barclay’s Bank in Broad Street?

It pains the arms considerably to avoid tipping over there.

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What is the justification for Widemarsh Street’s kerbs remaining as treacherous as ever, despite all the promises?

These kerbs are a design fault, which doubtless “looked good on paper”, with the kerb the same colour as the gutter to make the pavement look wider than it is.

This continues to make people tumble by mistiming their steps, with injuries ranging from mild sprains to life-changing fractures.


The city centre is a mixture of little tinkerings and patching up, and expensive schemes that did not work in practice, compounded by the silent menace of cyclists too idle to dismount and wheel their bikes through pedestrian areas. It is not a pleasant place for any disabled person to linger.

I think it should be compulsory for all designers of a revamped city area to put themselves physically in the situation of disabled users (with blindfolds, cotton wool in the ears, wheeling something heavy?) before submitting their design, and for the councillors who endorse the plan to do likewise.

I have a wheeled walker I could temporarily lend them!



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