Tag Archives: Disability

NEWS: Mill Springs Path update

The Mill Springs sports pitch area which is to be transferred from developer David Wilson Homes to Whitchurch Town Council seems to be fraught with problems and delays.

The much needed football pitches have not yet been commissioned to the dismay of players and their teams wishing to use them. Wildflower areas were missed, then planted and then inexplicably mown down. Cracks appeared in the cycle/foot path while the ‘chicane barriers’ continue to prevent access for many who have mobility issues, contravening equalities legislation.

Remedial surface work
This week part of the top surface of the cycle path was removed after some test holes were made to see what was causing the cracks. It looked as if planting left under the surface had begun to break through. Around an inch of tarmac has been scraped off, in an area stretching from Micheldever Road to about halfway down the hill.

Let us hope that the remedial work is successful and that it includes removing the source of the issue and not just covering it up only for it to appear again. Will there be a guarantee on this?

Top surface has been scraped off.

No progress on ‘chicane barriers
Meanwhile there has been no progress on the two access points where ‘chicane barriers’ remain as hazards and obstructions. It has been brought to the attention of Whitchurch Town Council on numerous occasions that they breach the 2010 Equalities Act and do not comply with government DfT requirements for design and construction.
There are other more suitable solutions that can be used but ‘chicane barriers’ are invariably unacceptable as they discriminate against many mobility buggies, adaptive wheelchairs and disabled cycles.
Such ‘chicane barriers’ are currently being removed throughout the country and have also been the subject of court action resulting in costs being awarded. But in Whitchurch…

There is a very simple solution.
If David Wilson Homes remedied the designs before they become the responsibility of Whitchurch Town Council it could save the Whitchurch taxpayers thousands in potential future lawsuits should there be an incident or a discrimination claim. Hampshire County Council has provided a simple low cost solution; however…
We shall see if common sense prevails.

Restrictive barriers remain.
At least someone added a ‘cone’ – maybe to warn users 😉

NEWS: Cycle Path Fail

Is this one of the worst fails for a barrier on a cycle path?

It has already been noted that the barriers installed on the Mill Springs shared Cycle/Pedestrian path cannot be used by a number of users, yet they still remain.

The chicane restrictions are an accessibility nightmare for cycles using a trailer or a family tagalong. They could also restrict work bikes, tandems, hand cycles and tricycles, and that’s before the needs of mobility scooters are considered. Double buggies are also likely to be hindered.

Barriers are below design standard for accessibility:

1. DfT Local Transport Note LTN 1/20:
The barriers fail the Governments published design guidance (LTN 1/20) that states very clearly that:
“Access control measures, such as chicane barriers and dismount signs, should not be used.”

2. Basingstoke and Deane’s Cycling Strategy states:
“Users of specialised equipment – includes users of trailers, trailer cycles, tandems and tricycles, as well as disabled people using hand cranked machines. This group requires wide facilities free of sharp bends and an absence of pinch points or any other features that force cyclists to dismount.”

3. Furthermore the barriers fail to comply with the legal requirements of the 2010 Equalities Act.
The first requirement is a requirement, where a provision, criterion or practice of A’s puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.
Dismounting is a substantial disadvantage and not an option for the majority of users of adaptive cycles, such as handcycles, trikes and so on, and requiring a dismount for users of such ‘cycles’ is a contravention of EA2010 S.20(3)(4), and constitutes an act of direct discrimination under Equality Act 2010, Section 21.

4. Another question is being asked – was an Equalities Impact Assessment undertaken? Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council as the planning authority should be able to provide that, but haven’t.


But another problem is occurring especially at the western end near the sports changing rooms. The installation is also restricting access to maintenance vehicles for the three sports pitches. While there are two bollards that can be unlocked to allow access, maintenance vehicles are then confronted with the staggered barriers across the path. These vehicles are taking to the surrounding grassed areas, completely destroying it and creating a stony bare unsightly eyesore – and when it rains stones and mud get washed down into the road below causing additional hazards.

Grass is dead/worn away. Grass and flowers to the left, mud and stones to the right.

Can anything be done?
Yes. The area is currently under the management of Mill Springs developer David Wilson Homes, but will soon pass into the ownership and responsibility of the Whitchurch Town Council. This should be remedied before that takes place.
Let us hope that before the site is handed into public ownership this issue is resolved or future costs may rest on local residents. It has also been suggested that should anyone fall trying to negotiate the barriers it could also lead to potential injury claims.

The solution would seem to be a very simple one; remove the superfluous staggered barriers both here and at the other end; retain lockable bollards to retain access for service vehicles; make access to all legitimate users possible; comply with requirements of the 2010 Equality Act, and remove the need for maintenance vehicles to churn up the grass.
Sorted. Except it isn’t, at least not yet.

Its not just local routes that suffer such poor designs but also the Sustrans led National Cycle Network.
Listen to hand cyclist Ellis Palmer, then look at the barriers in Whitchurch at Micheldever Road end of the Mill Springs path (pic below):
Link to Video: BARRIERS ON NATIONAL ROUTES (Sustrans / Ellis Palmer)

Micheldever Road end – Substandard design makes it virtually impossible to negotiate safely by cycles or mobility scooter without leaving the path.