Peterborough Unlimited: Council ‘committed’ to addressing city centre access concerns

Concerns over accessibility in Peterborough city centre are being addressed, according to the leader of the council.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 4:56 am
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 6:50 am

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald was responding to the Peterborough Telegraph’s ‘Peterborough Unlimited’ campaign which has drawn widespread support from politicians and disability campaigners.

The PT is demanding five changes after hearing from residents with a wide-range of disabilities about their struggles to access the city centre, causing many to shun the area and do their shopping in other cities.

In a lengthy statement, the Conservative council leader said: “We are aware of concerns around difficulties our disabled residents may face accessing and using our city centre and are committed to ensuring that the city is an inclusive space that can be enjoyed by all.

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The launch of the Peterborough Unlimited campaign. From left: Hayley, Matthew and Rebecca Stannard; Samanatha Stokes; Graham Barnes; Julie Howell; Julie Fernandez and Sarah Pilbean

“To support the work being carried out by the Peterborough Unlimited campaign, we will be inviting a representative from the local disability rights group to participate in our regular economic recovery programme ‘walkabouts’ in the city to identify areas which can be improved and open up discussions with businesses where our residents feel further support is needed.

“We welcome suggestions and ideas from all to improve access to the city centre.

“The council has made significant investment in improving accessibility in the city centre. This has included three additional at-grade crossings installed across Bourges Boulevard linking the rail station to the city centre and extensive map-based signage, with a changing places facility as well as disabled toilets marked on the map.

“Moving forward, funding has been secured for the Fletton Quays footbridge (over the River Nene) which will create another accessible link in the city centre to serve Fletton Quays and the new university, whilst we are also developing plans to open up the station quarter and create a western entrance for the rail station which will improve access to the station for many people.

Peterborough City Council leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald

“Work has already begun to improve on the pre-existing levels of accessibility to the city and toilet facilities, with the reopening of St Peter’s Arcade. The recent re-opening of the walkway, allowed by the easing of the national Covid-19 restrictions, has resulted in better access to the changing places toilet located in the Car Haven for our residents.

“To further improve access to toilet facilities, we are also looking into the potential re-opening of the disabled toilet in St Peter’s Arcade.

“Furthermore, we are urgently reviewing the Traffic Regulation Order that controls traffic permissions along Long Causeway, through Cathedral Square and onto Cowgate, with the intention of preventing all but the most essential vehicles from accessing this route. By reducing the number of vehicles with access to Cathedral Square we hope to make the space far more accessible and inclusive for our disabled residents.”

PETERBOROUGH UNLIMITED CAMPAIGN

The changes being called for by the Peterborough Unlimited campaign are:

- Building of a fully accessible toilet block in the city centre

- The creation of a disability officer post at the council

- More Blue Badge parking spaces

- Keeping St Peter’s Arcade permanently open

- Improved access for disabled people into Queensgate.