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Chief takes blindfold walk over Telford pavement parking problems

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | Transport | Published:

Telford & Wrekin's enforcement chief got a taste of the problems caused by pavement parking when he took part in a blindfolded walk.

Councillor Richard Overton took part in the walk through Wellington's streets with the help of guide dog Jim as part of public consultation about inconsiderate and illegal parking across the borough.

He was invited by the charity Guide Dogs to learn more about the problems blind people face when trying to navigate pavements in the area.

Councillor Overton agreed meet up with guide dog trainer Alan Collier and 14-month-old labrador cross Jim to experience first hand what it is like to move around the streets if you have vision issues.

He was fitted with a full blindfold, given brief instructions on how to handle Jim before all three set off on a route from Wellington Leisure Centre, in Tan Bank, along Roseway, Wrekin Road, and back via Tan Bank.

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"I found it nerve-wracking to start with. I was compensating for the lack of sight with my ears, but all I could hear was traffic noise. I stopped at the kerbs, but I couldn't tell if the traffic was turning into the road where I was if it was passing straight on.

"I was telling Jim to go "forward" and he responded.

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"If there were no cars parking in the wrong place it is a lot easier for people who have lost their sight, or people with pushchairs. I was nervous at first, but my confidence grew as we went along."

Guide Dogs community engagement officer Andy Farrell said the organisation had a number of members living within a mile of Wellington town centre who had reported they had difficulty with on pavement parking.

Councillor Richard Overton takes a ‘blind’ walk with mobility instructor Alan Collier

"We heard about Telford & Wrekin's consultation on parking enforcement and we thought it would be good to invite the councillor to walk blindfolded to learn about some of the difficulties people with a sight impairment come across every day.

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"They also have concerns about quiet vehicle engines and moves towards electric cars that will be even quieter and rubbish bins left out for collection. The wider public just need to be more aware of how actions affect guide dog owners, or people using mobility scooters and pushchairs."

Councillor Overton added: "We are keen to get people's views and it is good that Guide dogs invited me to do this. I think that parked cars are a hazard."

The consultation on inconsiderate and illegal parking across the borough has so far received more than 700 responses. The deadline for comments is midnight on October 14. The survey is available online at telford.gov.uk/parkingenforcement

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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