Mission to make Buckingham town centre ‘accessible for all’

Christine Strain-Clark
Christine Strain-Clark
Share this article

Two town councillors are on a mission to make Buckingham centre accessible to all.

Christine Strain-Clark, who is a wheelchair user, and deputy mayor Lisa O’Donoghue who uses a motorised buggy and walks with a stick, are about to undertake a comprehensive survey of pedestrian routes in the town centre.

They will be looking out for potential problems and pitfalls for the less able bodied, such as uneven or broken paving slabs.

They will also be spotting things that make walking around town difficult for blind and partially sighted people, such as A-boards in pedestrian areas.

And they’re also looking for members of the public to get involved by reporting any issues that concern them.

Mrs Strain-Clark said: “Working in conjunction with Buckingham and Winslow Access for All, we plan to record instances of uneven and broken pavements and road surfaces and to alert the responsible authority.

“When funding is stretched, it is only too easy for such upkeep to be neglected, but gaps between paving stones and missing kerb stones are a danger not only to users of wheelchairs or mobility scooters, but to 
parents with buggies and to many of our more senior citizens.”

Mrs Strain-Clark and Mrs O’Donoghue represent Buckingham Town Council at Buckingham and Winslow Access For All meetings.

Mrs Strain-Clark said: “You think it’s just yourself, but we actually hear every month the problems people have to face.

“When you’re being pushed in a wheelchair on uneven pavements, you can suddenly come to a dead halt and it really shakes you up. It feels like being pushed into a brick wall.

“There are quite a lot of people in wheelchairs in the town and, with an ageing population, it’s not going to get better.”

Also of concern are the positioning and condition of dropped kerbs.

Mrs Strain-Clark said: “Where there are dropped kerbs, they’ve been in place at least 15 years. There has not been a real survey of where it would be helpful to have one.

“And there are places where there is a drop kerb but people tend to park their cars right against it. We need to raise awareness.”

Another issue is the inset brass studs in the slope leading down to the pelican crossing by the Old Gaol, which become slippery when wet.

To report an accessibility problem, email office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk or put a letter though the letterbox at the Buckingham Centre, in Verney Close.