Welwyn Garden City zebra crossing plan 'denies disabled access'

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 October 2016

Laura Pymer is disabled and a new zebra crossing on Valley Road will stop her being able to park outside her house.

Laura Pymer is disabled and a new zebra crossing on Valley Road will stop her being able to park outside her house.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

A 67-year-old disabled woman from Valley Road, Welwyn Garden City, has objected to plans to build a pedestrian crossing outside her home.

The crossing is being constructed after a successful campaign from parents of Ashcroft School pupils, who were concerned about cars speeding down the road and endangering children walking to and from school.

Laura Pymer, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects the body’s connective tissue, said she will no longer be able to park outside her house after the crossing is finished. Mrs Pymer has lived in the house for 24 years.

She said: “I have been informing the council for weeks that the crossing denies disabled access to my house.

“My drive is at the back and it’s on a slope. The slope puts a lot of pressure on my legs. My gate is on the flat but the zebra crossing will have zigzag lines so I can’t park there.

“Sometimes when I’ve got a lot of shopping I’ve got to carry it on the flat. If I ever needed a wheelchair I would not be able to get from my car to my house.

“There’s no disabled access full stop for visitors or future buyers. You don’t have to be disabled to live in a house that has disabled access.

“The residents who are directly affected by the crossing have not been consulted during the consultation process apart from very rushed plans we were presented with in April and May.

“Requests for particular information from us such as surveys, and air and noise pollution research, have repeatedly been ignored, with response letters received with a very long turnaround time.”

Construction on the crossing started on Monday, after a petition to the county council which reached more than 600 signatures and was supported by MP Grant Shapps and road safety charity Brake.

Mrs Pymer, who is retired and lives alone, said: “My disability is degenerative. I’m not going to get better. I’m extremely concerned about my future in terms of this getting worse and worse.

“I will just not be able to get out of my car in front of my house on a flat surface. A slope is a slope to someone in pain.

“If it was on the other side of High Oaks Road it would lead onto the pavement to the town centre. Where it’s going to be it won’t be used nearly enough.

“It’s for a few school children and it’s only needed between 8am and 9am. I appreciate the problems, it’s busy, but it’s only on school days. It affects my life 24/7. Most of the time there’s no traffic, that’s the one thing that makes me cross.”

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesman said: “We are aware of Mrs Pymer’s concerns and have offered possible ways to address them.

“The scheme has been well supported and will provide a safe crossing point for pedestrians in the area.”

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