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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Community group calls for better access in Millom

AN investigation into how disability-friendly Millom is has been launched by a community group.

Millom and Copeland Community Group spent a morning in wheelchairs to get a real picture of how users and people with prams, negotiate Millom town centre.

Highlighted issues included heights of kerbs, too few dropped kerbs, drivers parking in front of a dropped kerb, and access into shops.

Cumbria County Council has announced plans to spend around £36,000 on a series of footway improvements.

Rita Bickerdike, 74, of Oxford Street, Millom, said: “The high curbs here are a nightmare.”

Age UK shop volunteer Joan Jones, 71, said: “We only have a temporary ramp because the pavement is not wide enough. I think it’s good enough having a temporary one.”

Gift shop, Spoilt for Choice, has a pull-open door, which makes it difficult for wheelchair users.

Customer assistant Helen Coulson argued passers-by would help by opening the door for those who needed it. She also said the door is normally propped open but said it was closed due to the rain.

She said: “Millom is very people-friendly. The door is usually wedged open. We have been looking into getting automatic sliding doors.”

MCCG volunteer Andrea Crawford, 33, of Katherine Street, Millom, said: “Today is about spending time looking at issues that wheelchairs users or people using prams, might face.”

Brenda Floyd, 46, of Millom, said “It’s about raising awareness from the disabled person’s point of view.

“We can’t really know what needs to be done without seeing it through their eyes.”

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: “The county council has carried out a number of footway improvements in Millom and Haverigg over recent years. Since 2008 we have received requests for dropped kerbs at 20 separate locations in this area and 16 of these have been completed.

“The works will include new footway surfacing, alignment improvements and some new crossing points at locations which have been identified by the South Copeland Disability Forum. These works are currently scheduled to start in October and are expected to last for three weeks, although the timing could be subject to change.”

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