‘Pavement and road look same’

Landau drivers on the new Promenade
Landau drivers on the new Promenade
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SAFETY fears are growing around Blackpool’s multi-million pound Promenade after a local charity revealed the design could force the blind off the Golden Mile.

Users from resort sight charity N-Vision were given a sneak preview of the revamped Promenade a fortnight ago – and blasted it for being dangerous.

The safety of the new look Prom – designed around a “shared space” concept with no road markings or kerbs – has been hotly-debated since it was re-opened on Monday.

And N-Vision’s community resources manager Judith Harrison said: “There are real concerns. There’s no delineation between the pavement, the road and the tramway and if you’re a long cane user you need the kerbs to tell you when you’re stepping on to the road.

“What we don’t want is for it to become a no-go area for anyone who has reduced vision and I think people will be put off. We raised our concerns with Blackpool Council but what we were presented with was a fait-accompli.”

Council chiefs continue to insist the road is safe, and maintain users will grow used to the new arrangements.

But landau driver Colin Nicholls, who’s worked on the Promenade for 30 years, said: “It needs marking out, I don’t think it’s safe at the moment.

“People can’t tell the road from the pavement.”

As well as a lack of road markings, the traffic lights at Adelaide Street West and Church Street have been removed and bus and taxi drivers will be expected to “negotiate” with oncoming traffic to turn into the roads.

John Donnellon, assistant director of housing, planning and transport, said: “When we designed the scheme we took account of disability access issues and there’s a slight kerb. This section of road had a poor safety record and we believe it will improve with the new arrangement.”

The council has said it would assess the scheme over several months before deciding whether changes were necessary.