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Are the needs of the disabled being ignored?
7:00am Thursday 24th January 2013 in Postbag
ON Sunday, January 6 we sat in the Guildhall Square knitting ‘red tape’ and adorning the trees with it, together with posters explaining our cause.
At the same time we gave out handbills to as many people as possible to draw attention to the fact that the car parks in Market Place and Guildhall Square will be closed very soon by means of a traffic order that the council saw fit to post two weeks before Christmas, only giving people four weeks to object.
Most of the people we approached were either unaware of the council’s plans, were against them, or both. On the whole the response was ‘why?’ followed swiftly by such comments as ‘what a stupid idea’.
We managed to sit it out for about four hours.
We met a group of teenagers in the afternoon, who started by jeering and circling us on their bikes and skateboards, and ended up sitting with us, holding our billboards and talking about disability issues.
I felt we all went away having learned something. The teenagers that disabled people are not scary, just people, and that it can happen to anyone, and us that teenagers in groups on the Guildhall steps are not scary, just people, and given the opportunity to understand, they care.
We went back again several times over the following week.
On Thursday evening we attended the area board meeting where a motion to carry out a review of disabled parking was not carried due to the chairman’s casting vote, and members of the public were not given the opportunity to comment.
It is too late now to lodge a complaint; the consultation period ended on Monday.
I have no doubt that the area board will continue to try to bulldoze this illconceived scheme through. Please let me make it clear – we are not against the prettifying of the Market Place. If that’s what Salisbury wants, fine, but there is no need for all the disabled parking to be removed from the periphery.
There is room for the needs of disabled people to be met in this historic town as well as the wants of the general public, isn’t there?
JAN KRAFT, Fovant