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Newbury pedestrianisation scheme ‘discriminates against disabled people’ say Tories

Plans to pedestrianise Newbury town centre have been referred to West Berkshire Council’s watchdog committee – with claims it discriminates against disabled people.

Five opposition Conservative group councillors have forced the decision to enter a six month trial to be reviewed by the council’s own scrutiny team.

Northbrook Street will be closed to vehicles from 5am-11pm under the new plans
Northbrook Street will be closed to vehicles from 5am-11pm under the new plans

They believe that the decision may breach the Public Sector Equality Duty described in the Equality Act 2010.

They claim the move discriminates against disabled people.

They further claim the council is obliged to remove or minimise ‘disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected characteristic’.

The Equality Impact Assessment recognises that residents with a disability may be affected by the decision, due to restricted access for parking in Newbury town centre pedestrianised area between the hours of 5pm and 11pm.

It goes on to concede that there has been no survey undertaken to understand how many could be affected.

The council argues that the experiment will reveal the extent of the impact on disabled residents.

The Conservatives claim the proposed trial would restrict access in the evenings to those with disabilities who currently are able to be dropped off or park within the pedestrianised area.

They say residents with disabilities should be consulted so that the council can establish the extent to which the proposed decision may contribute to inequality.


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