Newcastle City Council has pledged to work with local disabled people to tackle the growing issue of street clutter and improve accessibility in the city.
The Newcastle Street Charter, which is the second to be agreed in the North East, is the first in the UK to include actions to tackle the issue disabled people face due to taxi drivers refusing to carry assistance dogs and cyclists riding on pavements.
Working with RNIB
Newcastle’s Street Charter was developed alongside RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and 18 pan-disability organisations, including Newcastle Disability Forum.
The charter was launched on on 18 December 2017 at Newcastle Civic Centre and also aims to address the growing problem of street obstacles; bollards, advertising boards, bins, cars parked on pavements, and shared space schemes.
Survey results published in RNIB’s My Voice report revealed that a third of blind and partially sighted people of pension age had collided with an obstacle on the pavement in the last three months.
The estimated number of people living with sight loss in Newcastle is 7,770.
RNIB and disabled campaigners across the UK have called on local authorities to review their street policies and to consult with local disabled people on what changes they most want to see.
Angus Huntley, RNIB Volunteer Campaign Coordinator and Newcastle Vision Support Empowerment Officer, said: “We hope Newcastle’s Street Charter will give local people with sight loss more confidence when they are out and about, without constantly worrying about the hazards around them.”
Alison Blackburn, Chair of Newcastle Disability Forum, said “The Newcastle Street Charter is a good example of partnership working. It builds on the work that the forum has been doing for 30 years along with Newcastle City Council and other disability organisations to improve access and encourage everyone to use our beautiful city.”
Mark Burnett, Head of Mobility Services for Guide Dogs North East, said: “We welcome the launch of the Newcastle Street Charter. “Guide Dogs is pleased that Newcastle City Council is supporting people who are blind or partially sighted, to move around safely and with confidence and live the life they choose.”
Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Newcastle has so much to offer, from shopping to restaurants and bars. We want to make sure as many people as possible can take advantage of these.
“We recognise that a trip to busy town centres can be challenging for blind, partially sighted people and disabled people. We are really pleased to have had the opportunity to work with RNIB and various disability organisations to create a Street Charter. It will help raise awareness about how everyone can do their bit to help make our streets safer and more accessible.”
Find out more
For more information visit www.rnib.org.uk/onmystreet
The above news release was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association.