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Galloway's welcomes new street charter in Preston to improve access for visually impaired people

Photo shows LCC highways councillor Keith Iddon walking blindfolded through Fishergate's shared space with a member of the Galloway's services team. He is stood on tactile paving, ready to cross the road, which is a shared space
Coun Keith Iddon walked blindfolded through Fishergate with Galloway's in 2018. Photo credit: Lancashire Post

Sight loss charity Galloway’s is delighted Lancashire County Council has approved new guidelines to improve access to Preston's streets for visually impaired people.

The Lancashire Street Charter for Preston City sets out guidelines to ensure it is easier for visually impaired people to get around the streets. These measures include:

• Consulting blind, partially sighted and disabled groups on major new public realm and highways developments, to ensure they meet the needs of visually impaired people.

• Putting additional measures in place to ensure potential obstacles such as A-Board pavement signage, cafe and street furniture, litter bins and wheelie bins at commercial premises do not present a hazard.

• Ensuring that crossings are correctly installed, monitored and maintained, in line with national standards for rotating cones, audible crossings and tactile paving.

• Setting out how overgrown vegetation, parking, and temporary obstructions such as road works, parking and taxis can be better managed to improve accessibility.

The charter was developed in partnership with Preston City Council and The Visual Impairment Forum for the Lancashire Area, which asked the county council to consider producing the guidelines.

Stuart Clayton, CEO of Galloway’s, said he is really pleased to see such a positive move forward to ensure the city’s streets are accessible for everyone.

He said: “We welcome the introduction of a Street Charter and commend Lancashire VI Forum, Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council for working together on this. "This is a really positive step for blind and partially sighted people, and for the city as a whole.

“Mobility is challenging enough if you have limited vision, which is why this is an important document that we hope will improve the accessibility of all our streets for blind and partially sighted people.

“We understand that resources are limited right now, so we are really grateful the needs of people with limited sight are being considered.

“We hope that this new Street Charter will make real changes to ensure our streets are accessible for all.”

County Councillor Keith Iddon, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "People with disabilities face barriers getting around the towns and cities of Lancashire. Even in familiar places, getting from one place to another can be a bit like navigating an obstacle course

"We want to change this and we're working with local people, disability groups, district councils and the Lancashire Visually Impaired Forum to take action.

"We want our towns and cities to feel safe and secure, places where people truly find it easy to live, work and visit.

"The Lancashire Street Charter is a key part of this and we've worked closely with people with disabilities to produce it."

Google image of Fishergate, in Preston city centre. It shows a Tarmac road area with grey tiled markings which is for vehicles and pedestrians. There is a small grey stone/brock roundabout in the centre. On either side of the shared space are pavements and shops.
Google image of Fishergate, in Preston city centre

Denise Hinchliffe, press and publicity officer from the Visual Impairment Forum for the Lancashire Area, said: "The Lancashire Street Charter is a project of which we are really proud.

"The successful putting together of this piece of work could not have been achieved without the invaluable contribution of everyone involved. It clearly shows the value of working together. We would like to thank everyone involved."

Councillor Robert Boswell, Preston City Council's cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “It’s great to see this happening in Preston, ensuring the city centre is accessible to all.

“As the street charter is a trial we will continue our dialogue with the county council regarding implementation and listen to feedback from all parties.”

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