THERE are calls to make changes to the kerbs in Cirencester’s Market Place to make access easier for the visually impaired.
Maintenance work will be carried out in the town centre in the coming months, in relation to the Market Place regeneration scheme completed in 2017.
Since work started the year before, there have been more than 50 trips and falls recorded in Market Place, West Market Place, Castle Street and Dyer Street.
The majority of these have occurred in the Market Place, with ‘low’ kerbs outside the old House of Fraser store and the King’s Head hotel identified as potential hazards.
Campaigners want issue to be addressed while other repair work is carried out.
“There’s an opportunity to fix it,” said Leigh Chapman, who has long called for action to be taken to improve pedestrian safety in the Market Place.
“When the roads are closed for repair the problems can be addressed.
“There’ll be a huge amount of disruption and a large sum of money spent. We don’t want the same mistakes made again.”
Another Cirencester resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “People are always tripping over. People have come a cropper quite frequently.”
Referring to a kerb outside the old House of Fraser store he added: “You could easily think that’s the same level. It’s a hazard.”
Andrew Tubb, CEO of Cirencester Town Council, said an independent road safety audit was carried out in 2017 with the safety of the kerbs specifically asked to be looked into.
Concrete kerbs in the town centre vary from approximately 50mm to 120mm, and the audit team did not identify any safety concerns with the 50mm kerb height.
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) policy is that anything under 60mm is unlikely to be detectable to blind and partially sighted people.
Cirencester Town Council will also be commissioning an access audit later this year.
“We fully agree that it is vital we have an understanding of the barriers faced by people on a day to day basis,” said Mr Tubb.
“We want Cirencester to be a welcoming and accessible place for all.”
Referring specifically to the Market Place work he added: “We are discussing with the county council any ways in which the kerb edge could be clearer defined for the visually impaired.”