Wheelchair access on Verdon
by Gaby Spinks
Paul Mortby has lived in Burngreave for eight years, and
during that time he has campaigned actively for better access to
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
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?
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