logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 33 - August 2003.

Wheelchair access on Verdon St shops
by Gaby Spinks

Paul Mortby has lived in Burngreave for eight years, and during that time he has campaigned actively for better access to local shops.

As wheelchair users he and his partner Serisa have real problems doing ordinary things like going to the corner shop, which has no ramp. “It’s not just wheelchair users,” said Paul, “the elderly and parents with prams and pushchairs have problems too”.

Everyone he has spoken to has promised him they’d sort it all out. He even got a visit from the Lib Dem candidate two weeks before the last local elections. He took the paperwork with him and neither he nor Paul’s paperwork have been seen since.

When Paul first moved into the area he had to get certain things sorted out. The road outside his house was cobbled with was pretty uncomfortable in a wheelchair, street signs were also installed so that taxi drivers knew where he lived. He arranged for dropped curbs to be put in pavements and more street lighting and disabled parking bay outside the shops, so why has he come to a halt over the ramp into local shops?

We received this offical comment from Deputy Leader, Councillor Steve Jones, who said: “Paul and I have been campaigning for years to resolve the issue of access for wheelchairs and pushchairs to the shops at Burngreave. I am equally frustrated by the lack of action and will be taking this up personally with the Council’s Chief Executive, Bob Kerslake.”

Waiting outside the Post Office other customers don’t realize that Paul and Serisa are in the queue, but neither of them can get inside. They have to wait till one of the postal workers can come out to see them. They are forced to carry out their private business on the street. “It’s not dignified to sit outside shops in all weathers and it’s not safe” said Serisa. Ironically, inside the Post Office there is a sign telling customers to be aware of other’s privacy.

I asked them what would improve their lives in Burngreave. Both said a pub with a disabled toilet that they could access easily – currently they have to catch a taxi to The Sportsman as it has a side entrance that has no steps. Also a fully-accessible bus service on a regular basis, and accessible doctors, shops and other facilities close by.

Are they asking too much? I don’t think so, what do you think?

contact us: messenger@burngreave.net



Paul and Serisa.
As wheelchair users Paul and his partner Serisa have real problems doing ordinary things like going to the corner shop