Pedestrianising East Street is a ‘fait accompli’

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The husband of a disabled woman is angry at plans to permanently pedestrianise East Street, robbing her of suitable town centre disabled parking.

David Davis, of Parsonage Road, told the County Times that West Sussex County Council’s plans to pedestrianise the Horsham town centre street, currently being trialled, would have an adverse effect on the town’s disabled residents.

Mr Davis’ wife, who has a rare variation of muscular dystrophy which affects her arms and legs, is able to drive through her wheelchair with the use of her fingers.

But the loss of disabled parking in East Street, because of changes, means it is harder for her to make it into the town centre independently.

“The perverse thing is they have already made the changes on a trial basis. It’s just bizarre,” Mr Davis said.

“In the whole of Horsham there’s almost nowhere that can accommodate her at all.”

In March an experimental traffic order, for a maximum of 18 months, was enforced, making Market Square and East Street traffic free from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

The new disabled bays on the west side of the Carfax are not side-loading, and his wife is unable to use a ticketing car park on her own. The couple have two young children and both work full-time.

Mr Davis has called for on-going consultation, which finishes on October 26, to be suspended until a ‘proper’ equality impact assessment to be undertaken.

The county council declined to comment on whether the only way to reach the new parking bay outside Ask, when the barriers are up in East Street, is to reverse up a one-way street, or on Mr Davis’ call for the consultation to be suspended, or whether a proper impact assessment has been carried out.

A spokesperson for WSCC said: “The formal public consultation is still ongoing and all comments and objections will be addressed within the consultation process. A decision will then be made by the North Horsham County Local Committee.”

Mr Davis said he had nothing against the cafe culture, and that officers and county councillors had appeared to be helpful, but he was still left angry and frustrated.

He added: “They have seemed interested in our opinion, but the overwhelming sense is it’s a fait accompli.”

To respond to the consultation visit www.westsussex.gov.uk