foot path wistaston steps pushchairs wheelchairs

A new path through the 150-home Bellway ‘Kingfisher Reach’ housing estate in Wistaston may have to be ripped up after not complying to planning conditions, writes Jonathan White.

The path should allow safe passage for pedestrians, cyclists and other users through the new estate from Middlewich Road to Golden Jubilee Bridge on Wistaston Green Road.

But a local councillor who visited the site raised concerns about the route and whether it contravenes the Equality Act 2010.

The Act requires property owners must think ahead and take steps to address obstacles that impede disabled people.

Previously, adjustments to premises had to be made only where it would otherwise be ‘impossible or unreasonably difficult’ for a disabled person to access the property.

Now, under the Equality Act, adjustments MUST be made where disabled people experience a ‘substantial disadvantage’.

Crewe Town Council Cllr Ben Wye was alerted by residents to the problem and visited the site.

The eastern side faces a slope down to Wistaston Brook and developers are installing two flights of steps.

Therefore, the path is currently inaccessible to wheelchair users, excluding them from linking up their route with Wistaston Green Road and the Wonderful Wistaston path.

path - wistaston housing footpath steps equality act

Cllr Ben has written a complaint to Cheshire East Council to request the path is made accessible to all.

Cheshire East Council have replied stating they have designated the complaint as a Priority 3 in accordance with the adopted Planning Enforcement Policy, so aim to conduct a site visit, which may involve consultation with other agencies or Council departments.

Cllr Wye said: “Part of the attraction of the Kingfisher Reach site is, as the name suggests, it’s easy reach to the quiet calm of the Wistaston Brook.

“The installation of steps, rather than a slope, restricts those with wheelchairs, buggies or bicycles from accessing this and other nearby amenities without facing the risk of a long dangerous detour along Wistaston Green Road.

“The path was designed to solve this, but now it seems only for those able to use steps.

“Cheshire East Council has stated that enabling active travel is a key lever in improving air quality and tackling the climate emergency.

“The council has recently been awarded funding for projects to enable doctors to prescribe walking and cycling as a way to improve health.

“It is a terrible shame that the developer’s choice of steps create a barrier to wellbeing and sustainability.

“I hope a ramp can be installed before the earthworks are complete which will save money, the environment and possibly lives.”

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: “This pathway does not comply with the planning conditions agreed for this development.

“We have contacted the developers and await their response.”

(Images courtesy of Jonathan White)

2 Comments

  1. They need a snake path with bends at either end to gradually rise to the upper level and a salt bin for residents to use before a frosty night.

  2. Disgusted what an epic fail as a shocking blunder, more than 20yrs ago public spaces had to provide easy access for the disabled public, and every shop had a visit to check if improvements could be made before the deadline. I myself had put in measures many years before that to include ease of wheelchairs and prams etc, it is a human right to include everyone from public spaces, you have got to wonder how brilliant the house builds were

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