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Sloping new town centre pavements test users

Thursday, 1 December 2016

THE gentle slopes on some of Ballymena's new town centre pavements have been attracting negative comments from some visually disabled people, who have been trying to master the new surfaces.
As part of Mid and East Antrim's 4m Public Realm Scheme, expensive new footpaths have been laid along Wellington Street, Church Street, Broughshane Street, Ballymoney Street and some other areas.
However, some people are finding the new footpaths a little troublesome.
The Guardian was alerted to the concerns of visually impairment local people.
Problems were aired on facebook, where some users highlighted trip hazards, such as uneven paving with particular reference to the slope and the forthcoming winter weather.
One user commented: "Going to be grim when the ice comes - sloping pavements with poor drainage."
Another commented: ""When the ice comes...the salt will just eat in to the cement between the paths."
The Guardian decided to test the issue with the help of local guide dog user, Torie Tennant and her golden Labrador 'Ushi'.
Torie said that throughout the roadworks scheme in Ballymena, it has at times been challenging to navigate her way through the town, although some disruption was inevitable.
She now noticed a difference in the new paving, particularly the way in which they slope in certain parts of the town centre.
Torie said that parts of the footpath are noticeably steeper but that Ushi will "get used to it and take it a bit easier, and go slower."
She said the design seems to follow other Public Realm schemes she has visited, such as in Bangor.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.

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