Roadworks have made Warwick a ‘no-go zone’ - and MP says somebody needs to be accountable
A GUIDE Dogs for the Blind spokesman has warned that Warwick is in danger of becoming a “no-go zone” for visually impaired and elderly people as a result of the county council’s latest roadworks in High Street and Jury Street, which should reopen today (Friday).
Terry Smith, whose job is to negotiate with local authorities on issues of access, said six bollards segregating traffic on the narrow street were knocked over before the latest resurfacing work.
He said: “Those could have been pedestrians.”
Mr Smith is also angry about Warwickshire County Council’s failure to reinstate a zebra crossing close to Castle Street.
He says the raised crossing platforms that are intended to slow traffic down give nobody priority and do not work. They simply rely on both drivers and pedestrians to exercise extra care.
He said: “The platforms leave not only the blind but all minority groups, including the elderly and those with mobility problems, vulnerable to accidents. For instance the noise of an electric scooter makes it harder to hear oncoming cars.
He said: “We are also extremely sorry that despite talks with the planners they have not taken into account our recommendation to reinstall the pedestrian priority crossing. We are keen to continue to offer to work with the council to try to achieve a satisfactory and safe solution.”
It is the fourth time this year that Jury Street and High Street has been closed or partially closed for roadworks. Earlier this year the perpetual upheaval led to a storm of protest from angry shopkeepers and restaurateurs whose profits slumped.
Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White stepped into the debate on Wednesday. He said: “There needs to be some sort of accountability on this roads issue - where is the planning, experience and knowledge?”
But even if the work is completed this week the issue is far from over.
As Malcolm Cook, who only reopened his Catalan restaurant today (Friday), after telling his staff to take three days of their holidays early, pointed out: “More time has been set aside again early next year for the street to be closed again so work can be done to repair the raised sections and relay another area that was hastily relaid in June.”
A county council spokesman said on Wednesday the zebra crossing would not be reinstated as the raised barriers on the street were sufficient, but a safety review would be carried out within 12 to 18 months of all the roadworks being completed next year.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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