Meet­ing helped ad­dress con­cerns

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

WHILE constructive crit­i­cism can of­ten be help­ful it is un­for­tu­nate that Su­san Sharp, by dint of her po­si­tion with Guide Dogs for the Blind, takes such a neg­a­tive and pes­simistic view of Ash­ford’s in­no­va­tive shared space scheme (March 12). Had she, how­ever, been present at a meet­ing, which I chaired, a few weeks ago at Cen­tre­piece in Ash­ford she might well have found more than a mod­icum of en­cour­age­ment. Or­gan­ised by KCC, the work­shop dis­cussed the whole con­cept of shared space with spe­cific re­gard to dis­abled peo­ple and was at­tended by a num­ber of in­ter­ested and in­volved par­ties, in­clud­ing a guide dog user and two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Guide Dogs for the Blind. The aim of the work­shop was to in­form KCC of is­sues aris­ing from the scheme and how they might wish to re­spond to the next stage. It proved in­valu­able when any num­ber of find­ings, both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive, were sub­se­quently aired in an open, frank and constructive dis­cus­sion. A sec­ond such work­shop is pro­posed to be held, hope­fully around June time, when I will be more than happy to see that an in­vi­ta­tion is ex­tended to Su­san Sharp who, de­spite her scep­ti­cism, is doubt­less aware, fol­low­ing Ash­ford’s en­cour­ag­ing start, of the in­ter­est now shown in shared space by towns and cities as far apart as Here­ford, Staines, New­cas­tle-un­der­Lyme and Ed­in­burgh. Michael Claughton, chair­man, Ash­ford Ac­cess.

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