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Lorries and cars parking on roads in Deal and Dover cause hazards to blind and vilunerable

By Beth Robson

This picture shows the hazards that irresponsibly parked vehicles cause to the district’s most vulnerable.

Physically disabled people, pram pushing parents and children walking to school would have to negotiate this HGV parked on a pavement in Golf Road, Deal.

But it is a much greater inconvenience to the blind or partially sighted, says the chairman of the Dover and District Branch of Guide Dogs Liz Sykes.

This HGV was parked on the whole of this stretch of pavement in Golf Road, Deal, just metres away from Sandown School
This HGV was parked on the whole of this stretch of pavement in Golf Road, Deal, just metres away from Sandown School

Mrs Sykes, who stays independent with the help of guide dog Ulla, said: “Getting around proves to be a challenge every time a guide dog and its owner leaves home.

“There are over hanging bushes or weeds, bins left out on the pavements, paths being dug up but, the most dangerous and frightening obstruction to a visually impaired person is your path being blocked with a vehicle and having to step out in the road.

“You don’t know how long the vehicle is or, if there are others parked in front of the first vehicle and, even if the road is clear as you start to go round, whether you’re going to get past before moving traffic appears.”

The problem has been highlighted by the district’s two MPs, Charlie Elphicke for Dover and Deal and Craig Mackinlay for Sandwich. They were both at a Guide Dogs event at the House of Commons on Monday last week.

They heard from guide dog owners how parked cars blocking paths force them to walk into oncoming traffic they cannot see.

Those problems were illustrated by Mrs Sykes when she provided this picture of the lorry.

Liz Sykes and Guide Dog Ulla
Liz Sykes and Guide Dog Ulla

Mr Elphicke said: “No one should be forced to walk out into oncoming traffic by cars parked on the pavement. The government must take action to end problem pavement parking. Blind and partially-sighted people should be able to walk the streets without fear.”

Mr Mackinlay said: “Improving access for disabled people is a key priority for the Government and I know that ministers have written to councils on several occasions, encouraging them to use their available powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem.

“But vehicles parked on pavements are still causing particular problems for people with visual impairments and also to those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.”

Dover resident Linda Mewes said: “I understand that in some places there are very few places to park but I do think that pavement parking is dangerous and inconvenient to many types of pedestrians.

“It is often impossible to pass on the pavement but, for many, going round in the road is a very dangerous option – especially for the blind, partially sighted, elderly and disabled.”

Haulier company A Rhodes have been contacted for a comment.

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