Disabled man furious at perceived ‘segregation’ of town centre street

JPCT 151112  Pete Owles - unhappy about pedestrisation of east street. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 151112 Pete Owles - unhappy about pedestrisation of east street. Photo by Derek Martin

A disabled man with severe mobility issues feels the council has effectively segregated a Horsham street by forcing through pedestrianisation.

While West Sussex County Council is the highways authority responsible for current traffic restrictions in East Street, which began in March 2012, Pete Owles, 63, from Church Road in Roffey, lays the blame squarely at Horsham District Council’s door.

When the barriers are up at the end of East Street, disabled drivers are unable to access the parking bay outside Ask specifically designated for blue-badge holders, such as Mr Owles, who takes 26 tablets a day, including 18 painkillers, and cannot walk long distances.

“What they have done is segregated people out of East Street,” he said.

“They’re just riding roughshod over everybody, with no consideration for the disabled.”

A spokesperson for HDC said: “Horsham District Council is aware that objections and support from the public have been made to West Sussex County Council as part of the experimental traffic order for East Street in Horsham.

“These objections are to be considered by West Sussex County Council’s North Horsham County Local Committee at its meeting later this year.

“Horsham District Council is currently working with West Sussex County Council to help address the specific concerns raised by disabled people.”

Reports of workmen gaining access to Market Square by driving from the Carfax is a sore spot for disabled parkers, as the only way to access the disabled bay outside Ask is by East Street, making it inaccessible during the day from Monday to Friday.

Mr Owles said: “Why should they be allowed to break the law and we can’t? Why they should be able to break the law when disabled people can’t go to the parking area?

“They should make the area accessible from the Carfax. That would be sensible.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “No-one was given permission to ignore the one-way street order last week. This would be a police enforcement issue.

“On the wider issue regarding the temporary Traffic Regulation Order in East Street, we are aware of the objections raised and these are being looked at.

“The North Horsham CLC will make a decision on whether the order will be made permanent or revoked.”

Mr Owles said that he had received verbal abuse for driving down East Street, even when the barriers were down.