Cllr Julie Davenport, speaks for the Labour Group, on disability issues. She regular attends the Disability Forum at the Guildhall.
Cllr Davenport says,
“My experience, on a daily basis, is concerning the access issues for people with disabilities.
For example, Borough Council and Northamptonshire Partnership Homes pathways are in a very bad state, mainly due to the tree roots pushing pavements up and making the pavement difficult and a few impossible to manoeuvre along with walking aids, scooters, wheelchairs or even walking.
The Borough Council have allocated £100,000 extra funding per year for trees but when I mentioned at the last Council meeting that I believe that more than the 10% of that budget should go on dealing with these urgent cases the Cabinet Member refused and thought that 10% (£10,000) was enough!
I also raised this issue at the last Disability Forum again and someone said, ‘But it’s the law, they have to ensure access for people with disabilities, just tell them that!’ Obviously I have told them that but it hits deaf ears.
The other issue with trees is that they hang over sheltered housing bungalows, all the branches, deadwood, twigs fall into their gardens and the vulnerable residents cannot use their gardens because of these obstacles. No, £45 a week they get for PIP or whatever will not pay for someone to constantly pick up the tree debris, plus pay for carers and so on.
In addition, there are problems with all the leafs, especially in sheltered housing developments. The residents can slip on them in wet weather. I’m told things will be better in June once the environmental services contract starts - why are we waiting for this wondrous day in June for them to do so many things? Perhaps it is because of the summer and problems don’t look as bad.
Alleyways are also a problem. Residents, with scooters, in terraced houses with back access are condemned to be housebound because they cannot get through the alleyways with their scooters due to rubbish that is never cleared.
It’s all well and good for the Council to talk about the issues, people want action. There are quite a few issues that those with disabilities come up against and I know plenty who will speak on all of them.”