Brighton and Hove News » Proposed road closure in Brighton imposes disabled curfew, campaigners say
Disability campaigners fear that closing a popular shopping street to all but pedestrians and cyclists could act as a ‘curfew’ for people with disabilities.
Two disability groups – Possability People and Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere (BADGE) – have criticized the proposal to close Gardner Street to all traffic except bicycles from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. This would extend the current weekend closures.
The proposal to extend the closures to weekdays is due to go to the city council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee next Tuesday (September 20).
The scheme includes the removal of blue badge parking spaces from Gardner Street and the creation of others in nearby Regent Street.
Possability People chief officer Geraldine Des Moulins is due to lead a delegation to the Brighton and Hove City Council committee.
She must speak on behalf of Possability People and BADGE before the advisors decide whether or not to make the changes.
She is expected to say: ‘Gardner Street is a residential area and this closure would impose a curfew on people with disabilities, locking them into their homes between 11am and 7pm, preventing them from being able to attend work appointments. essential health or leave the area for a reason that would compromise their health and well-being.
“We argue that this is a human rights issue and a safeguard risk that was not addressed or even mentioned in the ‘equalities impact assessment.’
“However, the inadequate ‘equalities impact assessment’ presented to the committee indicates that the only group with protected characteristics who are disproportionately disadvantaged are people with disabilities.
“The only mitigation offered is that additional blue badge bays are placed in nearby Regent Street.
“However, it must be recognized that blue badge holders are already permitted to park for a limited period of time, so this ‘mitigation’ does nothing to compensate for the removal of the current bays.
“Another unresolved issue is the distance between Regent Street and Gardner Street.
“People eligible for a blue badge may not be able to walk or, if they can, very short distances.
“‘Mitigation’ means that to access the street blue badge holders would have to walk at least 150 meters to 200 meters or more and that is only one way.
“No individual who benefits from a mobility component can walk more than 200 meters. We argue that this is not mitigation, but discrimination against 13,500 blue badge residents.
The “Equality Impact Assessment” is part of the report presented to the committee.
He said the disabled parking spaces are in use 23 hours a day, except when the road is closed at weekends.
The assessment said: “The loss of disabled parking spaces on Gardner Street will impede access to the street for blue badge holders.
“Residents with disabilities said they would not be able to leave their homes without direct access to a disabled parking space.”
The report said removing the bays would restrict access to Gardner Street for blue badge holders who could not walk more than 50 yards.
If councilors decide to limit Gardner Street closures to weekends only, officers said they would approve seven additional disabled spaces planned for Regent Street anyway.
This would involve removing double yellow lines and marking disabled bays to prohibit delivery drivers from loading and unloading in the spaces.
The council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee is due to meet at Brighton Town Hall at 4pm on Tuesday September 20. The meeting should be broadcast on the board’s website.