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Needs of disabled people are being taken seriously
3:48pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in Salisbury Letters
I WANTED to respond to the letter about the needs of the disabled (Postbag, January 24).
The area board’s plans for the Market Place were developed over the course of a consultation which ran from November 2011 to August 2012.
We had more than 1,500 responses to an online survey and several open public meetings which more than a hundred people attended.
It is simply not fair to say that we are ignoring the needs of the disabled.
While the ‘red tape’ protest leaflets say that only seven blue badge spaces will be placed on Blue Boar Row, that is not accurate.
There are currently 12 disabled parking spaces in the Guildhall Square and in New Canal Street.
After the work to New Canal Street and The Market Place there will be 22 dedicated disabled parking spaces.
I have done everything I can to increase the number of disabled parking spaces and we have nearly doubled them.
I am still looking for more spaces so we can have extra on-street disabled parking.
Also, as part of the Market Place consultation, I was pushed along many of the city streets in different wheelchairs.
From my experience of that it was clear to me that New Canal was particularly bad for wheelchairs and that The Market Place was not much better.
We will be resurfacing the Market Place with a level surface that will be much easier for disabled people to use.
I have also been able to get the pavements in New Canal Street extended to an appropriate 2m width and completely resurfaced, which will deal with one of the worst areas for disabled people.
We have done everything we can to improve access to the city centre for disabled people as part of the improvements to the Market Place.
There will be more parking, more evenly spread around the city centre, allowing closer access to more shops and services.
The pavement surfaces will also be significantly improved.
RICHARD CLEWER Wiltshire councillor, St Paul’s Ward Salisbury Chairman, Salisbury Area Board
WE all want what is best for Salisbury. But we must not throw out the baby with the bathwater and destroy the good aspects.
For example, off-street disabled parking in the centre of town; country coaches and a coach park in the centre of town; evening parking in the centre of town with its tremendous economic benefits keeping the place alive in the evenings.
However, street furniture and surfaces are a big challenge.
We can’t even get the lift right in the Guildhall. It has lasted two years and another £70,000 is needed for a replacement one.
The Guildhall roof was replaced 20 years ago “to last at least 100 years” and is now in urgent need of over half a million pounds spent on it.
The new surface in Fish Row is now ten years old and a disgrace. The market walkway surface beside the library is also a mess.
Internet shopping is here to stay, which will reduce the viable shopping area to twothirds of its current square footage. The car is also here to stay. It might change from petrol or diesel to electric or hydrogen but it will always be the preferred option.
The concept of an anchor shop has gone. The anchor shops M&S and BHS and the adjacent multi-storey car park have failed to keep the Old George Mall shop units fully taken.
A series of old reports on how an improved environment can produce gain by increasing rents and property values is now fundamentally flawed and not applicable to Salisbury.
However, an improved environment with roads without potholes, hazardless pavements, more trees, better conveniences, cheap parking etc are required for Salisbury.
ALAN CLARKE, Salisbury