A politician today claimed Preston is in danger of turning its back on disabled people.
Coun Tom Davies says he’s all in favour of the new rising bollards which will prevent motor vehicle access to a pedestrianised area round the flag market and town hall.
But he has branded as “ludicrous” possible arrangements to make disabled drivers take a detour round the town to collect special swipe cards or fobs to access disabled parking bays near the town hall and old post office.
The Preston Rural East Tory councillor said: “Someone has brought out this silly idea to go all the way back round the city to get back to Cheapside. It seems a nonsense. My concern is that the majority of disabled parking bays for the city centre are around Earl Street and Birley Street and to get to these you’ve to go through the bollards.”
He said people visiting Preston from out of town would arrive at the bollards at the Fishergate/Cheapside junction opposite Waterstone’s Bookshop and have to reverse back, then detour to get tokens from the Mobility Centre in Chapel Yard at the junction of Friargate /Ringway junction. Coun. Davies asked: “Do we support disabled people in Preston ….or don’t we?”
Coun Davies added that senior executives at Preston Council would still enjoy easy access to parking in the area.
A spokesman for Preston Council said: “The city and county councils are working together to introduce a scheme that will work in the best interests of pedestrians and also people that need to access that part of the city centre.”
Paul Dunne,from the county’s highways manager said: “The rising bollard system is currently being trialled. Traditional rising bollard systems operate either for a set period during the day when access is not permitted, or give restricted access only for regular users such as buses and other permitted vehicles.
“Because the bollard will need to be activated many times during the working day, the trial involves carrying out safety audits due to the large number of motorists turning into Cheapside.”