Councillor Rachel Burgess in the Town Centre
Councillor Rachel Burgess in the Town Centre

It’s quite clear that people with disabilities or those who are more vulnerable have received a raw deal during Wokingham’s town centre regeneration works. Cllr Rachel Burgess (Labour councillor for Norreys) has been working hard to highlight the problems at Council meetings and directly with Council officers.

Rachel says “Some disabled residents in Norreys have told me they feel unsafe going into the town centre even for essential items such as collecting their prescriptions. Others have shown me how they have to take very long diversions to find dropped kerbs or ramps, and some wheelchair users have had to enter the roadway to get around as they cannot properly access the pavement.”

As the market place works have dragged on, five months behind schedule, many vulnerable people lost their independence as they simply could not navigate their way around. The Conservative Executive Member responsible for the regeneration seemed entirely in denial about this – he stated that the town centre has remained “fully accessible” during the works!

Rachel said “I worked with local residents to report issues to Council officers and make sure the situation was improved. Now that the market place works are finally coming to an end, the Council must ensure that accessibility issues remain a priority while the Peach Place and Elms Field projects continue.”

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