Improved safety calls made by blind Honiton man

PUBLISHED: 18:30 18 March 2015

St Paul's Church, Honiton.

St Paul's Church, Honiton.

Archant

The 59-year-old says uneven paving slabs, overhanging bushes, and A-boards outside shops contribute towards his problems in town.

A disabled Honiton man has expressed fears for his and his guide dog’s wellbeing following several near-miss incidents in the town.

The man, who asked to only be referred to as Derek, is registered blind and says not enough is being done in Honiton to protect disabled people.

The 59-year-old, who relies on his guide dog to get around town, said uneven paving slabs, overhanging bushes, and A-boards outside shops all contribute towards his problems in the town.

Devon County Council (DCC) said while it hasn’t found any safety defects on pavements, it would liaise with other authorities over the issues.

Derek said: “It makes me wild. Nobody will speak up – they are scared to put themselves in the way. It’s time that OAPs stood up and spoke for themselves. It’s so frustrating.”

Derek said overhanging branches in Dowell Street and Northcote Lane have caused him to spend hundreds of pounds on lens replacements.

“The overhanging bush in Dowell Street catches people on the head,” Derek added.

“I have asked for something to be done about it, but nothing has so far.”

But it’s shop A-boards in Honiton’s shopping area and illegal parking which are Derek’s main worry. He thinks many boards are placed centrally on the pavement, and cause his guide dog to divert him into the busy main road to avoid them.

He said on-pavement parking severely limits the space in which his guide dog can direct him.

“The on-pavement parking in Honiton is very bad, too. Walking in the town is dangerous.”

Derek is now calling on the county council to get the ball rolling, adding: “I would like some pavements to be re-raised to stop people parking on them.”

A DCC spokesman said: “We have inspected the pavement along the High Street, east of New Street, but haven’t found any loose slabs that would be safety defects. We will be contacting East Devon District Council about overhanging vegetation from its car park in Dowell Street.

“Pavement parking is unacceptable, and dangerous obstruction of the highway is a police matter. We are awaiting the outcome of the reading of the Government’s Pavement Parking Bill with interest.”


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