‘The death of the town centre’

After reading with interest the letter of Ian P. Linaker in last week’s Guardian, I should think that the question of the imminent demise of the town centre as a result of the county council’s decision to prohibit disabled access is a little tardy. As to most people it would appear that the event has already occurred and the deceased interred.

But, to address the matter realistically there should be sufficient able-bodied custom to keep the town centre ticking over, simply judging from the amount of vitriolic whingeing done by those who were so angered by the access afforded to those of us less well able to get about. Perhaps they will now be able to raise a glass in celebration of their vindictive achievement. For many, the provision of extra disabled parking is meaningless because the places they need to access are ‘a bridge too far’ for them. I myself will now no longer be able to access the Nationwide and will now travel to Retford or Mansfield where the amenities are far better than those in Worksop, the natives less likely to kick your car if it offends them by displaying a green special access permit and the cost of fuel is invariably four pence cheaper, making the ‘extra mile’ well worth taking.

Now that all the political posturing has ceased, and the letters’ page looking less like a political soapbox, with those hogging the ‘letters’ page for their own political party propaganda duly despatched to obscurity once more, meaning may once again be concentrated on matters of more importance than those individuals self aggrandisement and quest for power.

With regard to the aforementioned letter, many very valid points are made, as many have been by other before his and he exhorts the disabled driver to write to the people concerned, though I fear that will achieve little as these local politicians, particularly those of the persuasion now in power at county hall are less well known for making U-Turns than their masters in Whitehall. Instead it may be more useful to inquire of the chap whose address you have made known on page five but who is apparently anonymous, ‘The Environments Manager at County Hall’.

Perhaps the question should be asked of him through the columns of this paper, in order that an answer may be made common knowledge to all concerned. I am sure that those of us who qualify for a special access permit (and even the standing MP whose silence on this matter is a little disturbing), would all like to know “Why is the Worksop Bridge Street disabled access the only one of the 15 in Nottinghamshire to be targeted and closed?” For those interested, there is one in Arnold, one in Beeston, six in Mansfield, four in Newark, one in Retford and one in West Bridgeford.

In addition there is also a similar scheme operating in Nottingham city which has to be applied for separately. None of these are currently under attack although precedents are very dangerous things and tend to ‘snowball’.

John MW

(via email)