THE development of new 'shared surface' areas in Shepherd's Bush is putting the lives and safety of blind and partially sighted people at risk.
Shared surfaces are where roads and pavements are constructed at the same level.
I am keen that readers of your newspaper speak out against this new blight on town planning.
Local authorities are going ahead with shared surface projects without taking into account the effect that they have - not just on blind and partially sighted people, but on other groups in our communities. Guide Dogs' thorough research has demonstrated that these new shared surface developments are becoming 'no go' areas for many and that people fear for their safety in trying to negotiate their way through cars, lorries, cyclists and other road users.
Shared surfaces rely on negotiating priority and movement between vehicles and pedestrians through eye contact and this puts blind and partially sighted people at an immediate disadvantage.
We are not against the principles of the shared space concept but there is a massive difference when you introduce a 'shared surface.' From childhood we are all taught to stop at the kerb.
When you introduce designs with no kerb then we are all put at risk and safety concerns go beyond visually impaired pedestrians, to older people, children and those with other disabilities.
I hope your readers will join our campaign by either writing to your letters pages or the local council. Further information can be found at www.guidedogs.org.uk/sharedsurfaces or by phoning 0800 028 4348.
Tom Pey Director of External Affairs The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Hillfields, Burghfield Common, Reading, RG7 3YG