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Blind campaigners hail precedent in Archway hazard victory

PUBLISHED: 08:55 16 December 2011

Elizabeth Jones walks towards the adverts

Elizabeth Jones walks towards the adverts

Archant

Blind campaigners are celebrating after getting hazardous street furniture removed from the pavement – and have hailed their success as a landmark victory.

Blind campaigners are celebrating after getting hazardous street furniture removed from the pavement – and have hailed their success as a landmark victory.

Two advertising boards have been pulled out of the pavement in Holloway Road, Archway, after a long battle that ended when a planning inspector ruled they posed a safety risk to visually impaired people.

The group campaigning for the decision, made up of volunteers from talking newspaper Talking News Islington (TNI) and members of the Friends of Archway Market, believe it sets a precedent that could help others clear their streets of dangerous obstacles.

Stephanie Smith, TNI volunteer and Archway Market Manager, said: “People had been knocking their heads on those obstacles for a long time, so we’re delighted. It brings a smile to my face every time I go down there now. It’s a very good planning precedent that can be used to fight against other hazards, and we’re going to send it to other blind groups.”

The ads stood in the middle of the walkway – near to the Budgens supermarket – and were much wider than the narrow posts holding them up.

This meant people using canes to feel ahead could not tell how big they were. Blind people, including TNI’s Elizabeth Jones, clattered into them on several occasions.

Planning inspector Peter Willows said in his decision: “There have been incidents of visually-impaired people walking into the units on more than one occasion, and there is a significant prospect of similar incidents in the future.”

A spokeswoman for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said: “We haven’t heard of any cases such as this and this ruling is a positive step forward.

“Too often pavements are clogged up with advertising boards creating a dangerous obstruction and running the risk of causing serious injury. RNIB would like to congratulate the campaigners on their victory.”


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