Kirkintilloch: Disability campaigners hit out at planter hazard

Visually impaired people say a new set of planters in Townhead at Kirkintilloch present yet another hazard making it harder to safely get around.

Sandy Taylor of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired Forum
Sandy Taylor of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired Forum

The ornamental feature was installed a few weeks ago on the route to the Sainsbury’s supermarket.

It has been the subject of complaints from local disability campaigners.

Sandy Taylor of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum (EDVIP) explained: “To many they will be seen as a welcome attraction.

"However, once again, blind, visually impaired and other disabled people have failed to be consulted and with no thought or concern for their safety, they are yet another hazard which has to be avoided.”

The planter area includes tree branches below head height and benches without arm or back rests and also lacking heel rests, which would help long cane users avoid walking into them.

EDVIP say these problems could have been avoided had local community council Your Kirky, which donated the planters, consulted with them.

Your Kirky chairman Nigel Rooke said: “We welcome feedback on all ourinitiatives.

"As a volunteer led organisation we try our best to take all views into account.

"Please rest assured any feedback is used to help inform ongoing plans to improve Kirkintilloch town centre – working with a wide range of partners.”

East Dunbartonshire Council confirmed it had no involvement in this issue as the site is owned by Sainsbury’s.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have listened to the concerns East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired Peoples Forum have raised about the new planters and benches outside our Kirkintilloch Superstore.

"We will work with the council to ensure they are addressed. We would like apologise for any inconvenience our customers may have experienced since they were installed.”

Sandy Taylor of EDVIP, who is registered blind, is pictured beside the planter at Sainbury’s which is making life difficult for local people with disabilities.

The aims of EDVIP is to empower visually impaired people to achieve their maximum level of personal independence.