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Transport chief calls for crossing rethink

Major concerns: Pictured at Talbot Road, Blackpool. From left,  Kevin Winkley (chief executive N-Vision NW), Mark Beetham , Phil Dickinson (Guide Dogs), Nick Gradwell and Brian Casey. Inset  Coun John Jones

Major concerns: Pictured at Talbot Road, Blackpool. From left, Kevin Winkley (chief executive N-Vision NW), Mark Beetham , Phil Dickinson (Guide Dogs), Nick Gradwell and Brian Casey. Inset  Coun John Jones

Blackpool’s transport chief today slammed a controversial new road crossing which blind people say is dangerous to use, and admitted they need to go back to the drawing board.

Members of the Low Vision Committee and N-Vision in Blackpool have called on Blackpool Council to make changes at the new Talbot Gateway development to ensure it is safer for all road-users and pedestrians.

Now, the council’s cabinet member for streets and transport, Coun John Jones, agreed the crossings at the junction of Talbot Road and Dickson Road needed more work.

He said: “The current situation with these new crossings is not acceptable and I can 100 per cent understand why people have felt the need to make complaints.

“The scheme should not have been implemented without an in-depth consultation with all pedestrians and road users. What we need to do now is find a positive way forward.

“I have personally met representatives from the Low Vision Committee and N-Vision, the local charity representing visually impaired people, to listen to their concerns.”

Earlier this year, The Gazette reported how blind people and those with low vision found the crossing so dangerous it stopped them coming into the town centre.

Among the concerns raised was the lack of tactile paving to mark a crossing area for blind people.

Coun Jones said suggestions had since been made to make pedestrians feel safer, including new signage, clear road markings and speed bumps and the introduction of tactile paving.

He added: “I would encourage anyone who has used this area since the changes to take part in the consultation and let us know their views.”

N-Vision’s chief executive, Kevin Winkley, said he was hopeful for the right solution following a proper consultation. “The majority of our clients are elderly, as well as visually impaired, so they have a great need for safe, accessible crossing facilities,” he said.

“Our discussions with Coun Jones and his team are very positive and I would like to reiterate the request for users of the area to consider how improvements can be made for the benefit of all of Blackpool’s citizens and visitors.

“We know from experience that improvements made for the benefit of our visually impaired clients inevitably enhances the experiences for others.” For details, contact N-Vision on (01253) 362685.

 

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