THE CHAIRMAN of Swindon Guide Dogs, Alan Fletcher, has thrown his weight behind a new push for vehicles parking on pavements to be banned.
Guide Dogs, the national charity, said the practice forces vulnerable pedestrians to walk in the road and labelled it inconsiderate and dangerous.
Alan, who has backed campaigns in previous years for a new law on blocking pavements, said he has friends and acquaintances from around the town who have even been forced to return home when met with an obstacle in the footway.
“I know people who have been unable to get past, become really fearful, turned around and walked home again,” he said.
“My guide dog Nutmeg and I encounter these vehicles in different parts of the town quite regularly.
“In Faringdon Road, for example, there are delivery drivers parked outside businesses. It causes us problems.
“The dogs are trained, if there’s an obstruction, to go around it by any means. It could mean it takes you out into the road because there’s no other way.
“If I can’t get between the car and the building and the dog takes me out into the middle of the road, I can’t see what’s coming in either direction. It makes it unsafe for me and the dog.
“For blind people, mums with pushchairs, people in wheelchairs or really old people with walking frames it’s a huge problem.”
Alan, 65, of Stratton, has a 3/4-inch scar above his right eye after walking into a lorry which was parked on a pavement in Ermin Street, Stratton.
He required three stitches at hospital for the cut, which happened after he walked into the corner of truck. It had parked on the pavement because of the narrowness of the road.
A poll for the charity suggested seven out of 10 people want restrictions for the rest of the country – and eight out of 10 coun- cillors would back a new law.
Opinion pollsters YouGov carried out the survey for the charity, questioning 2,352 people in England, Scotland and Wales.
Separately 407 councillors in England and Wales were polled to gauge the views of local government.
This week, Coun Mark Dempsey (Lab, Walcot) will raise a motion at Swindon Council’s full council meeting about car parking on grass verges.
The agenda reads: “This council recognises the concerns of local residents in many of Swindon’s communities who do not have adequate parking capacity in their residential area.
“Furthermore, council recognises that this can sometimes lead to residential areas being left untidy as a result of residents having to park on grass verges.
“This council requests a report be brought to the cabinet detailing options for how the council can increase car parking capacity in residential areas that need it.”