CONCERNED members of a popular Evesham service have backed calls for a ‘High Street Charter’ to tackle the hazards posed for blind and partially sighted shoppers.
Evesham Talking Newspaper for the Blind Chairman Peter Wisbey set out the charity’s fears in a letter to VECTA (Vale of Evesham Commerce and Tourism Association).
And as well as speaking out on behalf of blind and partially sighted residents, Mr Wisbey also hopes tackling so-called ‘A Boards’ will aid mums with pushchairs and disabled and elderly shoppers.
In the letter to VECTA chairman Tony Rowland, Mr Wisbey said: “Some listeners have encountered many difficulties when trying to navigate from their front doors to the town centre to do their shopping.
“From vehicles parked across the pavement, from wheely bins, from the many and various A frame boards and material from retail shops that use the pavement to display their goods,” he added.
Problems from various pot holes and dips are also an issue for listeners according to Mr Wisbey.
“We recently had a walk around the town in the company of past mayor, Coun Robbie Raphael. Shawn Riley and Graeme Durden, Wychavon Development Central Manager, and in company of three of our blind listeners, one with her guide dog and two using just sticks for guidance.
“It proved to be a visual learning curve for us sighted people and we did witness the regular difficulties experienced by our blind listeners,” he added.
Following on from the RNIB’s calls for Parliament to look at the tackling vehicles parked across pavements, Mr Wisbey hopes action will also be taken at a local level.
“Whilst being fully aware and supportive of our need to re-energise our high streets, it does call for some serious thinking and co-operation by the retailers,” he said.
“An agreed and implemented ‘High Street Charter’ could improve the movement of not just our blind and visually handicapped but other town users, young mums with their push-chairs and buggies and more elderly and physically disabled shoppers.”
VECTA members agreed to circulate the letter and agreed to speak to fellow town centre businesses to see what could be done to tackle the problem.
A Wychavon District Council spokesman said: “The walkabout was very informative and we’re looking at the issues raised as a result.”