Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has approved new guidelines to improve access to Preston’s streets for visually impaired people.
The Lancashire Street Charter for Preston City was approved by cabinet at its meeting yesterday (Thursday 1 October).
The document 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, café 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
The Preston charter is a pilot. If this is trialled successfully, it will be introduced to other areas of the county.