Leaders told to ‘walk a mile in our shoes’

Stuart Clayton
Stuart Clayton

Campaigners against shared space schemes have invited councillors to walk in the shoes of blind and partially-sighted people around Preston city centre to experience the dangers they face.

Key members of the city and county councils have been offered a session in “simulated spectacles” to appreciate just how difficult it can be for the visually impaired to cross the road in the controversial Fishergate zone.

The move comes after news that a second shared space scheme could be introduced in the Adelphi Square project currently being planned by the University of Central Lancashire.

And it comes in a week when protestors from around the UK, including one from Lancashire, turned up at the front door of No 10 to hand in a petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to scrap all shared schemes in Britain following claims they discriminate against the partially sighted.

Stuart Clayton, chief executive of Galloways Society for the Blind in Preston, said: “I sent a letter to councillors a week ago about our concerns and offering them the opportunity to experience a blindfolded or simulation spectacle walk to get a greater insight into the mobility challenges facing visually impaired people. So far only one councillor has replied, which is a bit disappointing. But I’m happy to give them a while longer.

“We are not against progress, but schemes like this have to be accessible for everyone.”

The father of a three-year-old boy killed by a car in a shared space scheme in Jersey, joined the campaigners in Downing Street on the opening day of Parliament on Tuesday.