Disabled access in Market Place queried
THE COUNCIL did consult with a range of disability organisations as it planned the new Market Place.
Cllr Philip Mirfin, the executive member for regeneration, was answering a question on the layout from resident Sarah Kerr.
She asked: “How were the public consulted about the new layout of Market Place including the type and colour of stone, the disabled parking and loading layout, the lack of proper kerbs, the rather expensive looking golden studs and, in particularly, the use of the same colour paving stone for the pedestrian crossings?”
Cllr Mirfin replied: “There has been significant public consultation and engagement that has led to the new Market Place design dating back more than 10 years.
“An initial workshop in
April 2015 was followed by three more in November 2017. Two of the workshops were specifically for individuals and organisations representing those with various forms of disability including Guide
Dogs for the Blind, CLASP, Wokingham Healthwatch and the Alzheimer’s Society. The input was crucial.
In response, Ms Kerr quoted the Department for Transport’s guidance for tactile paving surfaces, noting that it says there should be “contrasts in colour and tone” and “older visually impaired people and people who have lost their sight through certain medical conditions may well have reduced sensitivity in their feet.”
She argued that the blister studs are “barely detectable for the average person through the soles of their shoes” and that they “do not contrast in colour much from the surrounding area”.
THE NAMES of the new businesses being announced for Peach Place will be released over the next few weeks.
That was the promise of the executive member for regeneration, Cllr Philip Mirfin.
In his update to the council chamber he said: “I’m confident [residents] will be pleased with what they hear. We have always been clear that we want a strong local independent offer along with some great quality national names. This is exactly what we have achieved.
“No one will deny that the face of the high street is changing but Wokingham continues to remain strong and to buck the national trends.”
He also addressed Market Place, saying that work was now “complete”.
Cllr Mirfin did not make any mention the cost of the project, or if there was any overspend given that the works were almost seven months behind schedule. The Wokingham Paper will continue to push Wokingham Borough Council for this information.