Councillor accepts blindfold challenge

Susan Dungworth-Policy Board Member for Adult Care and Public Health at Northumberland County Council is seen wearing a blindfold in Morpeth Town Centre to experience first hand blind people have with advertising boards.'REF 1811134658
Susan Dungworth-Policy Board Member for Adult Care and Public Health at Northumberland County Council is seen wearing a blindfold in Morpeth Town Centre to experience first hand blind people have with advertising boards.'REF 1811134658
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A COUNTY councillor put herself in the shoes of a visually-impaired person to experience the problems they face in parts of Morpeth.

Over the last few years, members of the Northumberland (Low Vision) Action Group (NAG) have raised their concerns about some of the A-boards in the town centre causing a hazard.

They issued a challenge to Coun Susan Dungworth, policy board member for adult care and public health, to walk along the main shopping streets wearing specialist equipment which simulates blindness and she accepted.

The guided walk took place on Monday and it gave her the opportunity to discover where visually-impaired people, as well as those with pushchairs and zimmer frames, are being hampered.

She said: “You are used to using all your senses so when I was unable to see, I was much more aware of the noise and traffic and it was difficult enough to navigate the streets when there were no boards in the way.

“I did find myself being blocked at times and one of the signs was next to a bin, which made it even worse.

“I previously thought it would be better for the boards to be next to a wall, but I discovered that towards the kerbside is a better location because some visually impaired people use their cane against walls to navigate.

“Some of this is down to common sense and education, although sometimes it needs to be followed up with enforcement.

“I will now find out what the current position is with A-boards and discuss the issue with Allan Hepple, policy board member responsible for planning.”

NAG Treasurer John Anderson said: “We’re very grateful that Coun Dungworth gave up her valuable time to do this walk and experience the problems for herself.

“She listened attentively to the points we raised and we’re pleased that she has agreed to take them up with her council colleagues.”