Discussion Forum
Square seating/disabled parking

From Frances Minto
Wednesday, 7 March 2007

I like being twinned with our European neighbours and as Lille is twinned with Leeds it seems about right that Pol is relatively near to Lille.

I used to use the central parking place quite often, before building work and am hoping to use it again to get to the veg shop once it is ready.

The plan seems quite open and better organised than the previous arrangement.

I note that the wall has gone, and would like to request alternative seating arrangements in the area. I would use the wall as a rest point between George Sqaure and the Park. If there is to be no wall please could we put some benches there. It would be a shame lose facilities in the improvement process.

I am also hoping for more centralised disabled parking - there is a reason we need it, and at the moment with the central car park closed and cancer screening on another we only have 1 in town. Up to 10% of people have mobility difficulties, and this is not reflected by a total of 5 (may be 7) disabled parking out of a total of 700 plus parking places. The number of safe places to park on double yellow lines has also reduced with the increased pressure for general parking, so it is significantly more difficult to park now than it was 2 years ago.

Please, please, please can we have more free seating in town and preferably not with a knife at my back which I am looking forward to testing it out when it returns.

Many elderly pregnant and disabled people need seats with back support. Bring back the old fasioned park bench please, then we can all enjoy the delights of Hebden Bridge on a sunny day.

From Michael Jennings
Friday, 16 March 2007

Of course there should be more provision for disabled drivers and passengers. However how many people are abusing the disabled blue badge? The number of cars displaying badges whose drivers leap out like spring chickens is a disgrace.

From Jonathan Timbers
Saturday, 17 March 2007

I agree with Frances - more thought about and not lip service to disability equality should have gone into the design of the Bridge Gate and the Square, although Mike Williams's sculptures are very tactile, and so I imagine accessible to disabled people who are blind or who have visual impairments.

Calderdale and Hebden Royd are now under a legal duty to have due regard to disability equality and some of us will be watching closely to see if it can translate this into action.

Twenty per cent of the population have rights under the Disability Discrimination Act and may experience disabling prejudice from non-disabled people or poor service delivery by public authorities and business.

Overwhelmingly, disabled people say that the attitudes of others and the way that services are delivered affects them much more than their impairments. In fact, Michael Jennings's post is typical of the bog standard ignorance that many disabled people face. It is of the same nature as comments about British people from a Pakistani heritage - mere uneducated ignorance but harmful and distasteful.

It is time that we started organising society for the people who actually live in it and examined some of our more casual and offensive assumptions. After all, almost all of us at some point in our lives will either become disabled ourselves or the carer to a disabled person.

From Michael Jennings
Monday, 26 March 2007

If Jonathan Timbers had read my comments carefully he would have ralised that I am very much in favour of providing for genuine disabled persons,especially drivers. Does he honestly think that people who abuse the system are doing any favours for these genuine people? His remarks are both untrue and offensive. I assume that he has a genuine disability and that he is prepared to accept unauthorised use of the blue badge? My comments were not uneducated ignorance, nor were they harmful and distasteful. How they can be construed to be comments about British people from a Pakistani heritage only he knows.

From Patsy F
Monday, 26 March 2007

Two things:

1. A few years ago I had a very painful spinal condition which meant that I couldn't walk very far, and we seriously considered applying for a 'disabled' badge for the family car - in which I'm always a passenger as I don't drive. If we'd had a badge my husband might have been accused of being like a 'spring chicken' if he'd been seen getting out of the driver's seat - possibly when parking somewhere to collect me.

2. I trust there are plans to bring back the original seats from both the riverside and square - some are dedicated seats paid for by the loving families of deceased people! Calderdale MBC has a nasty habit of 'losing' things.

From Anne
Monday, 26 March 2007

Michael, I think you probably misunderstood Johnathon's comments. Like him, I didn't like your comment "The number of cars displaying badges whose drivers leap out like spring chickens is a disgrace". He describes it as the kind of ignorance (predjudice?) that is often aimed at British-born Asians. In other words you are making unkind assumptions about people, based on their appearance. I know quite a few people who genuinely need a disabled badge but appear to be fit and healthy. There are many reasons why they may be able to walk very short distances only, not to mention some people with learning disabilities who can walk/run/skip but can not be relied upon to do so safely. In many cases the driver is perfectly able, but the badge is for the passenger.

All blue badge applicants are vetted pretty carefully and reviewed regularly. Traffic wardens often check that the person named on the badge is in fact in the car and the badge displayed correctly.

I think we should assume all are valid badge users, just like we would assume that anyone displaying a resident's permit is a valid resident, for instance.

From Michael Jennings
Tuesday, 27 March 2007

I agree entirely with all your comments re.disabled persons and their use of bluebadges. My comments are based on observation of various individuals who are not transporting/collecting people with disabilities. My comments are also backed up by the rampant black market selling of fake blue badges, not necessary in the Hebden Bridge area

From Anthony Rae
Thursday, 5 April 2007

I will make a rare contribution to this message board, particularly since Frances' original request was politely expressed.

I also had asked for some seats to be located at Bridge Gate carpark but I hope Frances will by now have noticed the nicely designed wooden seats that have been placed atop two of the circular stone flowerbeds there. If there is an opportunity for more seats in this location (or elsewhere) we will ask for them.

You will also have seen the three circular seats around the trees in the Square; and there will be some around the sundial feature when it is in place.

In relation to the location of disabled parking spaces, I'm afraid I don't have my traffic review detailed plan to hand but the intention has always been to increase the number of spaces in the town centre. I do recall that there will be a number on Crown Street and also in nearby Cheetham Street.

Other members of the public have asked about additional provision for cyclists, including 'Sheffield stands' to which bikes can be securely locked. We have also asked for these.

From Mary Seward
Friday, 6 April 2007

Paid a nostalgic visit recently.

The square is great. All those involved should be proud of what has been acheived.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Friday, 6 April 2007

Mr Rae deigns to visit this discussion board because a poster was 'polite'. Looking at the said posters comments, the politeness seems to be the inclusion of the word 'please' in bold, or the use of the same word in multiple ('please, please, please').

That Mr Rae replies to such a post using such justification reflects somewhat adversely on him. He obviously feels that he is of such importance that, in order to reply to the posts of us lower orders, we need to wring our hands with a supplicatory 'please, please, please', and touch our forelocks in fear and trepidation of such a special person. Well that's how it seems from here, anyway.

Even if you don't believe that, notice how he carefully sidesteps the comment "..preferably not with a knife at my back ". I think to many of us, this is a critical issue.

No, I don't want to open old wounds (as a knife, of course could well do). But, as has been mentioned here and in local papers, you can't get away from the fact that a knife is a symbol of severance, of division, of hatred, and of conflict. It's regrettable that a knife is to be at the heart of Hebden Bridge life. If those who decided on such a symbol didn't realise what they were doing, then they are without doubt naive in the extreme. Perhaps, more sinisterly, they knew exactly what they were doing, and were making a statement about what Hebden Bridge is becoming.

I hope I've expressed this politely enough for Mr Rae.

From Anthony Rae
Tuesday, 17 April 2007

The reason why I have not used this message board as a primary opportunity for responding to information requests about the implementation of traffic review was that - looking at the style and content, which is quite similar to any other message board - I did not want to get drawn, or allow the Traffic Review to be drawn, into adversarial and often ill-informed exchanges. The Hebden Bridge Times correspondence has that character as well, but is still more of a public medium and therefore has to be engaged with; and as a volunteer, and busy on many other things as well, I also don't have time for this.

Andrew's message perfectly exemplifies why I made that decision.