Paving slabs make crossing Dereham car park safer for the blind

Emma Webster with her guide dog Claire and Dencora Site Manager Nigel Sizeland, with the new tactile paving on Wright's Walk in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher, Emma Webster with her guide dog Claire and Dencora Site Manager Nigel Sizeland, with the new tactile paving on Wright's Walk in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher,

Kate Scotter kate.scotter@archant.co.uk
Saturday, July 12, 2014
6:07 AM

Crossing a shopping centre’s car park has become safer for visually-impaired shoppers thanks to special paving slabs.

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Mother-of-two Emma Webster, who is severely sight-impaired, called for improvements to be made at the car park for Dereham Shopping Centre, off Commercial Road.

There is a walk-way through the car park which runs from the pedestrianised Wright’s Walk to Commercial Road. The walk-way crosses two roadway sections of the car park.

Mrs Webster, who has a guide dog, Claire, said the dog would walk straight through the car park, making her feel panicked and worried that she would walk into on-coming traffic.

The 33-year-old, of Baxter Row, raised the issue with Dereham and District Access Group (DDAG) which then took the matter to Dencora, which owns the car park and shopping centre site.

Now, tactile paving slabs have been put down to signal the start of the roadway sections.

Mrs Webster, who works at London Road Pre-School and has two sons, Corin, seven, and Ewan, five, said: “As soon as the new paving slabs were put in, Claire stopped straightaway, it’s made a real difference. I use this route a lot and I can now walk through the car park without having to worry – when I’ve got my white cane as well as you can feel the tactile bobbles vibrate down your arm. I’d like to say thank you to the Dereham and District Access Group and Dencora for doing it for me and everyone else, it’s made a great difference.”

The work cost about £500 and took a day to complete.

Nigel Sizeland, shopping centre manager, said: “The shopping centre is a happy and safe centre, and we try to make it safe for everybody.

“We are always looking for ways to improve it and make it better all the time.”

DDAG helps its members lead independent lives and to improve access in and around the town. For more information about the group or to join, go to www.derehamaccess.org.uk.

Have you got a Dereham story? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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