Meeting Guide Dogs UK

Christopher Pincher MP says, “I want streets that work for blind and partially sighted people”

MP takes a trip down Guide Dogs’ Memory Lane

Christopher Pincher MP spoke with the charity Guide Dogs at the Conservative Party conference about the challenges that blind and partially sighted people face when walking the streets, including pavement parking, street clutter and shared spaces.  I know this was an issue local people were concerned about as they requested I meet with the Guide Dogs UK team.

Pavements blocked by parked cars or street clutter such as wheelie bins and overhanging branches can force pedestrians to walk into the road, putting them in danger of oncoming traffic.

Shared space streets, where vital safety features such as kerbs and controlled crossings are removed, can also be dangerous and disorientating for people with sight loss.

To illustrate these risks, Guide Dogs asked the MP for Tamworth to take a trip down memory lane and play their ‘Navigation Game’ – a take on the classic final challenge of the Generation Game – memorising the hazards that a guide dog owner might encounter on a typical journey.

Guide Dogs are calling for action on the most common dangers for people with sight loss, including a new law limiting pavement parking to areas determined by the local council, action from local authorities on street clutter and a safety review of existing shared space schemes.

Meeting Guide Dogs at CPC19

Helen Honstvet, Senior Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager at Guide Dogs, commented:

“The street environment has a huge impact on people with sight loss. When a street is blocked with obstacles or lacks vital safety features, it can make the difference between getting out and about with confidence or feeling forced to stay at home.

We’re calling for action to tackle the most common hazards that affect blind and partially sighted people on their local streets: pavement parking, street clutter and shared spaces.”