Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
New library is 'poor for blind people'
4:20pm Monday 7th October 2013 in Echo News
A DISABILITY rights campaigner says facilities for the blind at Southend’s new Forum library are poor.
Jill Allen-King, who is registered blind, says she struggled to find the path to the £25million building through the new public square because there is no tactile or raised paving.
Inside, she found there were no Braille books stocked.
The activist, who has been given an OBE for her services to the disabled, has previously criticised the City Beach and Victoria Gateway zones for not providing crossings, kerbs or pavements for pedestrians.
Mrs Allen-King, 73, said: “I’m so cross about the library.
After the problems with paving and crossings for the sharedspace zones, this isvery arrogant of the council.
“There are no safe pavements or kerbs, or any definition at all, through the square by Elmer Approach or from Queens Road to get to the library. This is where taxis drop off and it could be very dangerous.”
She visited on Tuesday, accompanied by a Guide Dogs for the Blind manager responsible for looking at access for blind and partially sighted people in public areas.
Mrs Allen-King, from Southend, said: “The library is far from bus stops at Victoria Gateway, or the bus station and there is very little disabled parking. This could put off older people from visiting.
“We should have been consulted about this and it should havebeen thought about in the early design stages.”
During Mrs Allen-King’s visit to the library, she was told Braille books could be ordered and lifts did have Braille in them and spoken announcements.
Derek Jarvis, councillor responsible for culture, said: “This is the firstIhave heard of the issues.Inote her concerns.
“We’ll speak to Jill further and try to address these things.”
Andrew Lewis, from Southend Council, said: “The partners for the Forum employed an independent access consultant to advise on all aspects of equality and accessibility. The partners implemented the full recommendations in this report.
“We will look at the issues raised by Jill Allen-King and consider whether any further actions need to be taken.”
Comments are closed on this article.