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Ashley Road like a slalom course, say disabled residents
Wendy Tiffin, centre, with Leonard Cheshire Disability local campaigns co-ordinator Julie Stainton, left, and Parkstone councillor Sally Carpenter
RESIDENTS with disabilities have catalogued the problems they face venturing into their local high street.
Campaigners at The Grange, a Leonard Cheshire home in Parkstone, documented the obstacles blighting Ashley Road.
They hope life may become easier now that the Borough of Poole has secured £1million to spend on improving the route with an emphasis on pedestrians and public transport.
Wendy Tiffin has been campaigning to improve the road since she moved to The Grange four years ago and was thrown from her wheelchair by a steep camber next to a pelican crossing.
She says the council improved the crossing after two years of pressure.
Wendy said the current problems on Ashley Road include high kerbs, poorly positioned lampposts and telegraph poles, narrow pavements and A-boards.
“It’s a nightmare in some places. It’s like a slalom course going in and out,” she said.
She added she was reticent to travel along the road on her own.
The ‘street audit’ of Parkstone was carried out by Wendy and fellow resident Paul Rasch. It says:
* The Ashley Road/North Road junction is ‘impassable for wheelchair users’ because there is no safe crossing time for pedestrians and there are no dropped kerbs northwards.
* The Ashley Road/Sea View Road junction has no dropped kerbs from the south to north side of Ashley Road or the north-east side of Ringwood Road.
* Inadequately dropped kerbs across side roads make crossing difficult.
* The Ashley Road/Weymouth Road junction has a badly located lamppost, with a post box blocking people’s view of traffic.
* Wheelie bins left on pavements make it hard for wheelchair users to pass.
* Mansfield Road and its junction with Ashley Road are blighted by poorly sited lampposts, traffic light columns and a telegraph pole plus a narrow pavement.
* A-boards are sited on a narrow stretch of pavement outside a row of Ashley Road shops.
Parkstone councillor Sally Carpenter took a tour of the blackspots with Wendy and with Leonard Cheshire Disability’s southern region campaigns co-ordinator Julie Stanton.
Cllr Carpenter said: “With the local Sustainable Transport Fund, hopefully some of that will go towards improving conditions on Ashley Road.
“This certainly highlights the problem and I’m hoping we can improve some of the facilities.”
The issues were raised at a recent meeting of the borough’s Newtown and Parkstone area committee, where traffic manager SteveTite told campaigners they would be consulted over the Ashley Road improvements.
“We recognise that we’re going to have a huge range of issues and concerns,” he said.
Committee member Cllr Brian Clements said of the Ashley Road grant money: “It’s supposed to be about priority going to pedestrians and certainly people with disabilities come into that category.”