More access to towpath please...
Sir, – I note with anticipation the long awaited and even longer needed upgrade to the canal towpaths south of Platt Bridge is now in progress, according to your Spring 2011 article.
An important route in the Greenheart network connecting with existing bridleways and footpaths. This will provide a continuous high quality route between Wigan and Leigh town centres, providing year round off-road leisure facilities. But only if you are able bodied, if you are not the barriers and gates from Bamfurlong to Wigan will stop you. They do not support passage of horse or disabled invalid carriages.
I would hope that the Communities Regeneration Programme and British Waterways take this into account and build provision for access for all.
John Gurhy, Ataxia UK North West Branch Chair • Ataxia (external link)
Wigan Council’s Corporate Director for the Places Directorate, Gillian Bishop, said: We are currently improving the towpath on the Leigh branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, between Lily Lane and Plank Lane, to provide a continuous high-quality surface between Wigan and Leigh town centres. Once completed, the towpath will be accessible by pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
At present, a number of barriers on the towpath prevent/hinder access for cyclists, pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooter-users. The barriers were installed by British Waterways to prevent access by motor vehicles and motorbikes, which can pose a real nuisance and danger to legitimate users of the towpath.
Following discussions between British Waterways and the council, it has been agreed that the barriers between Lily Lane and Plank Lane will be removed and replaced, where necessary, with ‘kissing gates’ and horse-friendly barriers, which should also accommodate wheelchair and mobility scooter users. Any existing barriers located between Lily Lane and Wigan town centre are the responsibility of British Waterways and any requests for their removal should be addressed directly to them.
We do not want to discriminate against wheelchair and mobility scooter users, however, it can be very difficult to strike a balance between allowing 'access for all' and preventing access for illegitimate users, such as motorbikes.
Wherever possible, the scheme has been designed in accordance with Disability and Equality Act 2010, however, in some situations, the gradients of ramps may not comply with the guidance, due to the prohibitive expense of construction.”
Please give DIAS a mention
Our Spring issue told of Sheila Fairhurst, who has campaigned for more support for victims of domestic violence after her daughter Carly was killed by her abusive boyfriend.
Sir, – The article, Ending The Fear, concerning the tragic death of Carly Fairhurst after a violent attack by her partner featured in the Spring edition of Borough Life, was shocking and disturbing.
One can only imagine the suffering endured by her parents and admire their heroic determination to direct their grief and anger into a campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and raise funds to support victims. It was heartening to read of the multi-agency strategy to address the hidden monster and the inclusion of telephone helplines, for those in need of support, provided a practical touch – but with a glaring omission!
DIAS – Drop In And Share – is a Wigan-based charity that has been in operation from premises in King Street since 1994. As the name suggests, woman – and men – who suffer domestic abuse can ‘drop-in’ for advice and support or can access the services of trained and experienced counsellors.
The service extends to family members who are anxious about a relative’s abusive relationship and, for those who cannot make the journey into the town centre, there is always support available via the telephone. DIAS staff will even take a number and ring back, having first established the safety of the caller, if the cost of the call is an issue.
Since comprehensive, face-to-face support is available here in Wigan, I was surprised DIAS was not mentioned in your article and I hope that you can rectify this. DIAS 01942 495230, DIAS