Saturday, 25 February 2012

Success: Better access outside Wellfield Centre - Streatham Youth and Community Trust

The Green Party is pushing to make Lambeth an inclusive borough, and issues of the built environment are a big part of this.

Problems with accessibility are not something that many people notice unless they themselves are directly affected - for example having a buggy or pram, being older, having a mobility impairment or using a wheelchair. It is therefore important to have councillors who know their local communities, but also know the needs of their local communities and can identify with them.

Lambeth is an inhospitable environment with regards to accessibility and this needs changing. Lambeth councillors don't often seem to notice, or if they do, don't appear to see it as a priority. Here is an example in a prominent place in the local community which councillors had failed to address, so we have sorted it out.

The issue was the pavement outside the Wellfield Centre (Streatham Youth and Community Trust) and the Well Centre in Wellfield Road (Streatham Wells Ward) which was inaccessible to wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments.

This is what it looked like. As you can see the vehicle crossover had a step each side which anyone in a wheelchair was unable to get up. It was also a significant hazard to anyone who had difficulty walking.

To compound the problem there was also a old drain that had sunk into the road in the middle of the crossover creating an additional hazard. Taken together this was a major barrier to many people - not just those using the Centre but other passers-by too. It meant that wheelchair users had no choice but to go into the road if they wanted to get to the community centre, which was not just inconvenient but dangerous. Neither was there anywhere obvious to get down into the road, so it meant going back around twenty or thirty yards to find a place to get down to the road between parked cars, then going along the road for forty yards (in a narrow street where cars would be unable to easily pass) and finding a place to get back up on to the pavement again.

I asked for the vehicle crossover to be made accessible, and this has now been done.

Not only have we got the sides ramped, but the drain has also been sorted out so there is no longer a hazardous dip in the middle.

This is something that local councillors should be on top of, but they clearly aren't. There is no excuse in the 21st Century for areas of public space to be inaccessible to large parts of the local community in this way.

We will keep pushing for the many other parts of the local area which impede access to be sorted out.

No comments:

Post a Comment