The plans for Brighton’s Gardner Street have compromised accessibility

A disabled resident will “be unable to leave their home during the day” following a decision to restrict access to vehicles, according to disability groups.

Possability People and Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere (BADGE) said they were shocked and dismayed by Brighton and Hove City Council’s decision to close Gardner Street to all vehicles between 11am and 5pm each day over concerns for disabled people, who regularly visit the popular shopping district.

They also expressed serious concern about a disabled resident living on the street whom they claim would be unable to leave his home during the day due to the changes.

Geraldine Des Moulins, Possability People’s chief officer, described the decision as an “exclusion policy” that “prioritises the profits of the traders over the people.”

She said: “I don’t think the City Council has any idea of ​​the impact of their plan to close Gardner Street on people with disabilities.

“In fact, they have only shown how little they understand the needs of disabled people and the day-to-day realities of living with an impairment or long-term health condition.

“We are particularly concerned for the disabled residents who rely on their cars to lead independent lives.

“What if their condition fluctuates and they need to see their GP or have other emergencies that need treatment or just want to go about their day like everyone else but can’t – because their car is locked?

“It’s such an exclusionary policy. 13,500 disabled people in the city rely on their vehicle or wheelchair for mobility. This closure directly discriminates against these residents and puts merchant profits ahead of people.”

The daily closure of the road to cars was scheduled to run from 11am to 7pm but was shortened to 11am to 5pm after consultation with accessibility concerns for the disabled.

BADGE co-founders Pippa Hodge and Rob Arbery said the city’s blue badge holders feel disappointed that there is no debate about the challenges the changes will pose for disabled people in the city.

They said: “This life-changing decision exposes the deficiencies of the traffic regulation process and the lack of integrity of Brighton and Hove Council’s equality impact assessment mechanism, as well as the value placed on equality impact assessments by officers and councillors.”

The decision to close the road to cars was passed at a meeting of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee after support from four Green councillors, while Conservative councilors voted against the move and Labor abstained.

Councilor Steve Davis, committee co-chair, said: “These changes will support our local businesses during some extremely difficult economic times by allowing them to expand outdoor seating and hopefully attract more customers and trade.

“While we are putting forward plans for pedestrian zones in parts of our city centre, it is important that we consider the needs of all of our residents. The addition of seven disabled parking spaces on nearby Regent Street would also mean more Blue Badge holders would have access to the North Laine area.

“The new Gardner Street community area will be accessible to all, including pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users. We will also be adding more lowered curbs for better access to shops on both sides of the street.

“These plans will result in Gardner Street becoming a much safer, cleaner and more welcoming place for people to visit and support the local economy.” The plans for Brighton’s Gardner Street have compromised accessibility

Fry Electronics Team

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