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Ian backs sight loss concerns

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery walking the streets of Morpeth as a blind person. He is with guide dog support worker Roger Bessent (red coat). GM033089

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery walking the streets of Morpeth as a blind person. He is with guide dog support worker Roger Bessent (red coat). GM033089

MORPETH’S MP has called for action after accepting a blindfold challenge.

The journey from County Hall to Morpeth town centre by bus for those with sight loss was recently experienced by Ian Lavery.

He also wore the specialist equipment which simulates blindness on a walk from the bus station to Morpeth Library via Newgate Street and Bridge Street.

He was accompanied by a support worker from Guide Dogs and afterwards spoke with representatives from the charity and members of the Northumberland (Low Vision) Action Group (NAG).

They have been highlighting the issue of A-boards. Many of them are obstacles to blind and partially sighted people, as well as those in wheelchairs and buggies.

And NAG is backing Guide Dogs’ campaign for a change in the law to make audio and visual information – including announcements of the current stop, next stop and final destination – available on board bus and coach services.

Mr Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, said: “I advise people to do the blindfold challenge because it gives you a clear understanding of the issues facing those with sight loss.

“It’s vital that buses have audio announcements to help blind passengers. As for A-boards, it just needs a bit of common sense from shopkeepers to make sure they are put in sensible positions.”

There has been some good news for NAG over the last few weeks as footpath improvements have been carried out on Bridge Street.

Member Joyce Anderson said: “We’re thrilled that Ian Lavery is supporting us, especially as we’re still bumping into quite a few A-boards in town centres.

“We’re pleased with the footpath works and now we hope that the council will look at the route from the Court House to the town centre.”

 

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