Footpath barriers to be moved after disabled woman's access problems
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The husband of a disabled woman has forced a council to take action to move barriers which are too narrow for her mobility scooter.
Lynn Wakeley, 70, from Shepherds Close in Horsford, has been unable to walk properly for five years due to permanent nerve damage in both her legs from peripheral neuropathy and relies on her scooter to cover long distances.
Her husband John Wakeley, 71, said safe access to the village recreation ground, which she likes to visit with her grandchildren, through a public footpath between Meadow Way and the village hall car park is inaccessible because three sets of metal barriers are too close to each other.
It means she is reliant on him to take her to the park and visit the village shops and friends and accused Norfolk County Council, in charge of the barriers, of "not looking after disabled people".
Tony Adams, who represents Horsford on the county council, said a highways engineer had ordered three new barriers, to replace those initially put in over 20 years ago to stop cyclists going down the footpath, but it was not clear when that would be done.
One of the barriers, which had been damaged by a car, had also been fixed to give more space.
Mr Adams said: "Wheelchair users have not had a problem with the barriers. We are doing our best to sort this problem for the gentleman. It is one of a myriad of problems in Horsford."
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A county council spokesperson said: “We’d be happy to review the barrier arrangement to improve mobility scooter access, while taking into account the need to help prevent inappropriate traffic from using the route.”
Mr Wakeley said he first raised the issue with the council last September but has not had any replies.
He said: "If you go down the main Holt Road there are a lot of obstructions like lorries and delivery trucks. It is a very busy road. The footpath is shorter and safer. I'm frustrated and angry. Lynn is fed up."
Chris Brown, Horsford Parish Council chairman said: "It is a tricky situation. We have every sympathy with Mr and Mrs Wakeley."
Dave Thomas, who represents Horsford on Broadland District Council, said: "This is a minor change to make a big difference for people. Access should be inclusive."