Call to traders over Shrewsbury street clutter

Traders in Shrewsbury are being urged to consider how their outdoor seating and signage affects shoppers with mobility issues.

Councillor Gwen Burgess is spearheading a campaign for stricter regulations on where street clutter and A-boards are placed in Shropshire towns.

She met wheelchair users, those with mobility issues and people with guide dogs in Shrewsbury on Tuesday afternoon to see how they are affected.

Business owners were also invited along to take a blindfolded walk around the town to see the problems first-hand.

Representatives from the Guide Dogs Society, Shrewsbury Access Group and Safer Streets, ready to take a walk around the centre of Shrewsbury to look at the problem posed by A-boards

"I don't want a blanket, draconian ban and to tell people they can't have A-boards and things like that," she said.

"The problem is that it's not being regulated at the moment and it's causing issues for some people.

"People don't think about where they put things and how it affects other users. It's got to work for everyone in the town."

Councillor Burgess, who owns Darwin's in Shoplatch, said it has made her think more about the way she positions signage and tables outside her shop.

Wheelchair user Sue Wood said she would like to see A-boards attached to walls so they are not an obstacle.

Councillor Gwen Burgess, wearing special glasses as she is guided on a walk by Kath Stinton

"It's a problem in so far as that there's absolutely no uniformity here in Shrewsbury," she said.

"Years ago people would use their common sense have have their A-boards and other things right up against the wall, but now they're just everywhere, and for some people, especially those with a visual impairment, it causes real problems.

"I understand traders need to advertise their businesses but I hope we can come to a place where it works for everyone."

Mrs Wood said street clutter is a particular problem at this time of year with the wind often blowing signage into the pavements or street.

A-boards in the centre of Shrewsbury

"My husband had to pick up an A-board in Shoplatch the other day because it had blown over," she added.

"I can't just get off the pavement in my wheelchair to get around it unless there's a drop kerb. Surely these things should have to be bolted down so they don't cause a safety issue."

Councillor Burgess, who is part of a Shropshire Council task and finish group looking into the issue, said the information gathered will be fed back, with a view to bringing a regulation in.

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