Ipswich Cornhill’s new cobbles criticised as ‘terrible’ for people with disabilities
The new cobbled surface of Ipswich’s £3.6million Cornhill development has been slammed as “abysmal” for people with mobility issues.
Ipswich resident Neil Garrod contacted this newspaper to complain about the “terrible” surface after visiting the newly opened top section of the development last week.
Work on the new-look Cornhill started earlier this year after Ipswich Borough Council gave it the green light in December.
Once completed, it is hoped to play a vital role in the “renaissance” of Suffolk’s county town.
However, the designs have attracted criticism, while others have called the project a waste of money.
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Mr Garrod said the designs appeared “awful” for disabled people as they sought to replacing natural slopes with steps.
Having suffered a foot problem, Mr Garrod currently uses a mobility scooter, which he says lacks suspension but is suitable for most surfaces, including in the town centre and former Cornhill.
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After a recent visit, Mr Garrod said the new surface was unsuitable for people with disabilities.
“This surface is abysmal for riding over on a mobility scooter with no suspension,” he added.
Mr Garrod has challenged the designers of the surface to experience riding over it on a mobility scooter.
“If they can’t easily get hold of a mobility scooter with no suspension then I am prepared to meet them at an agreed time so they can try riding over it on mine,” he added.
“Any new designs are supposed to take into account their suitability for people with impaired mobility.
“This has obviously been totally ignored for the new Cornhill design.”
Ipswich Borough Council, which is leading the Cornhill project, said it was “creating a new focal point for everyone to enjoy”.
“Prior to work commencing we consulted with disability groups who were satisfied that the materials being selected would be suitable and we continue to talk to the Equality Panel,” a spokesman added.
“These cobble blocks of stone are of high quality and used in projects across the UK.
“However, we want to do everything we can to ensure ease of access and will be looking at topping up the level of grout installed between the setts to make it smoother.”