An initiative by Liberal Democrats to rectify shortcomings with disability access and pavement safety has received significant cross-party support on Hertfordshire County Council.
A motion put forward “to urgently undertake these issues” by Barbara Gibson, a Lib Dem councillor and opposition spokesperson for community safety, was debated by the county’s highways and environment cabinet panel on Tuesday 12 February.
The Lib Dem motion called for action in six areas:
- Designation of an officer responsible for advocating for disability access issues, establishing a mechanism for reporting problems and raising disability accessibility issues
- Identifying barriers to access (ie – missing dropped kerbs, drastically uneven surfaces, overgrown vegetation and other hazards)
- Investing to bring footways up to minimum safe and accessible standards
- Ensuring current policies for construction and maintenance of footways follow government guidance with regard to accessibility, and
- Ensuring that all new development meets accessibility standards.
Barbara Gibson said: “I am so pleased with the response to the motion by the members of the highways panel. Although they didn’t take a vote today, there was a long discussion, and every member who spoke, from every party, voiced their support for both the aims and most of the recommended action items.
“A few questions were raised about costs and logistics, and officers were directed to come back to the panel with answers and recommendations that reflect the members’ support of the motion.
“This potentially represents real progress toward making pavements fit for use by wheelchair and mobility scooter users and those with other visual and mobility impairments.
“I applaud the cross-party support, and am hopeful that we’ll finally get a win in April.”
The proposals will be considered at the next meeting of the highways and environment cabinet panel, scheduled for 10 April 2019.