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Column 15th December 2021

Let's make a footpath accessible to everyone

I know that last week I said I would continue to answer the question about infrastructure this week, but I’ve been side tracked.

It’s coming up to the time for the spirit of Christmas and I think we should all give something to the residents of Wantage who can’t manage steps –parents with buggies, people in wheelchairs or mobility scooters or those who prefer to walk on the level.

Let me explain what I mean.

Where Icknield School (or King Alfred’s East Site) was, there are 150 new homes being built of which about 100 are already completed and occupied.

There is a snicket (an alleyway) in the north east corner of the site between the development and Charlton Road, making it much easier for residents to get to the Garden Centre, the Lord Nelson, Charlton Primary School, the Silver Band Hall or the Cricket pitch.

Initially this alleyway was just a rough sloping footpath which used to be used by the school children and in the Design and Access Statement for the new development it is described as a “key pedestrian link”.

One of the objectives was for the route “To open up public access into the development through the creation of a fully accessible, integrated and secure green infrastructure network which caters for a range of users”.

Unfortunately, the developers don’t seem to have read their own material.

The alleyway has been levelled up and a flight of steps placed at the northern end making it totally inaccessible to anyone who can’t manage steps.

Now that the discrepancy has been pointed out to them, the developers have submitted a retrospective planning application to get approval for the steps in the hope that they won’t have to do anything.

But, in the spirit of giving, I think we should all comment on the planning application and suggest that in the spirit of access for all the steps should be removed and replaced by a gently sloping path.

The planning application can be accessed through this link:

https://data.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/java/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P21/V3349/FUL

or by going to the website at https://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ and searching for P21/V3349/FUL. Then click on the planning application tab and a link to the application should appear. Follow that link and then there is an orange comment button half way down the page. Click on this and then follow the process to insert your comment.

Let’s make another footpath in Wantage accessible to everyone.


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