Council to carry out obstacle audit

A guide dog in training
A guide dog in training

How safe are our town centres for blind and visually impaired people?

That is what a group, led by Councillor Bill Duff, hopes to establish through an audit of potential obstacles such as street boards, utility works, pavement parking and even low hanging branches.

If it proves beneficial, the pilot exercise could be rolled out to other towns in Angus.

Councillor Duff is being joined by council officials from the Pride in Place group, as well as representatives from Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Royal National Institute for the Blind (Scotland).

Indeed, it is the RNIB’s Street Charter that the audit is seeking to support, but it will also look to identify any challenges faced by the disabled, including wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

Councillor Duff said: “We know about the kind of issues faced on a daily basis by people who are blind or visually impaired. It’s not the permanent structures that cause the greatest difficulty, but the temporary items that are unfamiliar to the individual, or their guide dog.

“These can include shop’s kerbside advertising boards, wheelie bins, pavement parking, scaffolding and road or utility works.

“While there are council policies in place to deal with most issues, it is our hope that we can raise awareness of the difficulties that can occur and prevent them from arising in the first place.”

As well as the audit, the group is reviewing existing policies and establishing where further guidance, shared information and experience might assist in helping to alleviate any problems.