Bucks Council to review 'ridiculous' wheelchair access issues in Aylesbury

Bucks Council is launching a full review into wheelchair access issues in an Aylesbury estate which have been labelled as ‘ridiculous’.

By James Lowson
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:15 am

Rob and Tracy Radwell contacted the council a month ago alerting them to a multitude of problems for wheelchair users trying to navigate Southcourt in Aylesbury.

They live in the area and have become more and more frustrated by overgrown hedgerows, egregious parking and narrow pavements.

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Tracy cannot navigate pathways that have become too narrow

The couple’s issues were exasperated 18 months ago when they inherited a dog after Rob’s mother passed away.

Every day Rob will walk the dog around his estate, but Tracy cannot join him as there is no room for her on the paths.

Overgrown hedgerows means there’s often not enough room for Tracy to pass in her wheelchair, meaning her wheels can get caught in the grass and leave her stuck.

Pathways have become too narrow

Often crossing the road is a challenge for Tracy too, in certain parts of the neighbourhood lowered curbs are covered by parked cars, meaning she often has to take one to two minute diversions just the get across.

Rob has identified regular egregious parkers in the area who often take up 75 to 80% of the pavement making life difficult for walkers let alone people dependent on larger machines to get by.

Tracy who has been wheelchair bound for roughly a decade due to issue caused by her Multiple Sclerosis condition can just about make it to the shops, but anything else is beyond her, Rob says.

They enjoy visiting Aston Clinton park once a week and walking the dog round, which Rob describes as ‘brilliant’, but the pair are often isolated outside of that.

Another pathway Tracy can't use

Rob says he has been met with aggression when telling residents that their hedgerows are too long, he also said he’s spoke to other wheelchair users in the area who just as frustrated.

He spotted two wheelchair users in the road, as they were unable to navigate the paths, one said he had been hit twice by cyclists using the pavements in Southcourt, both times the rider blamed the wheelchair user for the collision.

Bucks Council has pledged to review the wheelchair access in the area on hearing of the persistent problems the couple are dealing with, expressing its ‘sympathies’ for the Radford’s situation.

Speaking before the council’s announcement, Rob told The Bucks Herald: “It’s a joke, it’s absolutely ridiculous how bad the situation has become.

Parking which blocks wheelchair users ability to cross the road

"Aylesbury is supposed to be the home of the Paralympics, and yet it doesn’t look after the wheelchair users.”

Councillor Steven Broadbent told The Bucks Herald: “I very much sympathise with Mr and Mrs Radwell, obstructing safe access to crossing points is not acceptable.

"As a council we have enforcement powers to deal with such issues and regularly patrol in areas across the county, whilst discharging our powers of enforcement where appropriate. We will arrange to carry out a review of this area as a result of the concerns raised.

"If there are certain times of day or days of the week that this occurs we would ask residents to inform us so we can ensure our officers can be there when the offence is taking place. The best way to do this is to use the Contact Us form on our website.

Parking on pavements where there are no restrictions on the carriageway is also extremely inconsiderate and may in fact, be a criminal offence.

"This is a matter for the police to deal with and we would advise people to report it via the non-emergency 101 number.

More egregious parking

“In terms of overgrown hedges and shrubs in private properties encroaching on public footpaths, please report to us using the Fix My Street form on our website. We will investigate all reports received and take action where needed.

“Finally I would ask all residents to be mindful of how their actions might affect others.

"You may think that parking on a kerb is a good thing if it prevents blocking the road for other car users but often this can negatively affect pedestrians, especially those in wheelchairs or mobility vehicles and also those pushing buggies or prams.

"Please consider the needs of all road and pavement users.”