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Perilous pavements plea

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By Euan Maxwell
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Perilous pavements plea

A LOCKERBIE mum is pushing for more to be done to maintain the town’s pavements and improve the safety of wheelchair users.

Lucie Dudgeon has complained to Dumfries and Galloway Council about the pavements in Bridge Street after experiencing problems when out with her disabled daughter in her wheelchair.

Work has recently been done on the surface of the pavement but Lucie said: “I push my daughter in a manual wheelchair on this bridge and it is extremely difficult due to the uneven surface and the angle that pulls you towards the road.

“I have injured myself in the past and reported it to the council and my daughter’s wheelchair has broken several times due to the pressure being placed on the handles to correctly steer to keep steady on the pavement.

“New work has recently been done on the tarmac surface of the pavement which was only certain portions, it did nothing to correct the angle.

“In fact, at one point where there is new tarmac they didn’t touch the edgings at all which are broken and now it’s almost level with the road.”

Lucie – who is on the town’s community council and expressed her concerns at their latest meeting – believes changes need to be made before there’s a serious accident.

She added: “My husband had to aid an elderly gentleman in his electric wheelchair who, due to the angle of the entire pavement, was being pulled towards the road.

“When my husband reached him one of the wheels had already left the pavement and my husband was able to help correct him safely.

“The man was able to explain that in his wheelchair he was unable to steer at the angle required due to the pavement.

“He also has some visual impairment so couldn’t tell beforehand that the pavement on the bridge would be so challenging and dangerous.”

Lucie hopes that accessibility is given more consideration in future, adding: “I think people with disabilities should be asked to advise the building regulations so they aren’t built unsuitable for purpose.

“Any project or new build should accommodate the needs of the most vulnerable and disabled person then it’s automatically suitable for any ability.

“Dumfries and Galloway has the second oldest population in the whole of Scotland so it makes sense to make it more accessible to all.

“It’s 2021, people with disabilities shouldn’t have to worry that they will be injured going to the local shop.

“Disability is not exclusive to those born with them. We will all become less mobile as we age and anyone could become disabled at any point in their life through an accident so it’s time to change.

“Making it more accessible can only benefit the area now and in the long run and it’s high time this minority group was no longer discounted and discriminated against.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council were asked for comment.

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