Hartlepool Blind Welfare Association raise concerns with police and council officials

The meeting underway at the Blind Welfare Hall, Avenue Road.
The meeting underway at the Blind Welfare Hall, Avenue Road.

BLIND and disabled people expressed their frustrations about an increasing number of obstacles they encounter in Hartlepool to police and council officials.

Organisers say the meeting at Hartlepool Blind Welfare Association was a positive one with both the and council police hearing concerns.

Around 30 people, including guide dog and wheelchair users, attended the meeting to try to tackle obstructions such as drivers who park on pavements.

Linda Oliver, engagement officer for Guide Dogs for the Blind North East, said: “Both the police and council are very concerned about the obstructions blind people face.

“There are action points that they are going to take away with them and come back to us with feedback.

“The main issue is vehicles parking on pavements. It is a bit of a grey area whether the council or police are responsible but they are working in partnership with the issue.”

Members of the group asked if obstructions that are reported to the authorities were given higher priority if they came from a blind or disabled person.

The meeting was attended by Alistair Smith, the council’s assistant director of neighbourhood services and Mike Blair from the highways department.

They said they would be pleased to get advice from guide dog users to help raise awareness among council workers to help avoid creating new obstructions.

Police also said members of the group can express themselves through the Independent Advisory Board.

Linda added: “It is really important that the public understand and know that parking on pavements can be a real obstruction to people with sight loss or a disability.”