Protest – Westminster Council fail to keep its promise to install missing drop kerbs in Soho by June 2018

Four months after their deadline, Westminster Council still haven’t delivered a promised drop-kerbs programme in Soho and areas around. Transport for All (TfA) is organising a protest this Wednesday 31st October 2018.

Back in March 2018, we celebrated the good news that Westminster Council had committed to finally starting work on installing missing drop-kerbs in Soho. This issue came up after a four-year battle by TfA member Chris Stapleton.

But it seems that we cracked open the champagne way too soon. Four months after their deadline (Set up as June 2018), only three-drop kerbs out of the twenty promised have been delivered. In the meantime, Disabled people still need to go through ridiculous and dangerous detours, sometimes having to share the street with the cars.

Chris says: “It’s frustrating and deeply unfair that whilst my friends are able to cross any road they like in Soho, we cannot do this together: I have to go on big detour“.

<p=”“>On the 9th February, Westminster Council wrote to him (see email below), with a commitment to implement kerb-drops at 20 of the 27 locations he had mentioned. They said:”new drop kerb crossings will be introduced between now and the next 4 months“. There was also, in the same email, a commitment to implement most of the other seven kerb-drops after that initial four-month period. Disabled and older people were therefore expecting to see the work achieved by mid-June; and we were glad to see that the work did indeed start at the end of February.</p=”“>

The fact that pavements in Westminster – one of the most touristic areas in London – have been missing kerb drops for so long is a scandal. But the fact that the council still hasn’t implemented its dropped kerb replacement programme is absolutely shocking. Disabled and older people are not second-class citizen: we want to travel, shop and enjoy the West End like everyone else

Join the protest to urge Westminster Council to implement its promised drop-kerbs programme!

Please join us in number to show our disappointment against Westminster Council!

Come with friends!

  • When: Wednesday 31st October 2018, 11am
  • Where: At the Junction between Old Compton Street and Wardour Street, in front of a Big Bite shop. (joshua@transportforall.org.uk / 020 7737 2339 (Option 2). 

    It is important that we know if you want to come, in case there are any last minute changes.

    Picture showing chris on one side, unable to cross the street because there are no drop kerbs.

    We hope to see you tomorrow.

    Letter received by Chris Stapleton:

    From: Westminster Council

    Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2018 at 09:50

    Subject: Kerb Drops in Westminster – our ref: GEN 496_020218

    Dear Mr Andrats,

     

    Thank you for your email with respect to the lack of drop kerbs in Westminster.

    The City Council recognises the issues for accessibility in particular for wheel chair users to navigate the streets and has taken positive measures to address the deficiencies by introducing a dropped kerb replacement programme funded via our capital Planned Preventative Maintenance programme.

    Please note that all drop crossings improvements are also considered as part of our Public Realm works improvement programmes including third party developer works.

    The priority has been to ensure that appropriate drop kerbs and tactile paving layout is fit for purpose at controlled crossing points such as push-button signalled crossings, zebra crossings etc.

     

    The locations identified within the list provided all fall under the ‘uncontrolled’ crossing points where there is no absolute formal arrangements required. Irrespective, we are in the process of programming and delivering improvements within availability of budgets as follows:

    • The items in green have already been considered and new drop kerb crossing will be introduced between now and the next 4 months.

    • The item in amber has been assessed and no works has been identified. I have instructed our Service Provider to reassess the location again to make an informed decision.

    • The items in red will need to be considered further as there are not included within the first tranche of improvements. We have set aside a budget allocation for next financial year from April 2018 to continue with the second tranche of improvements and we will assess the sites in red and subject to budget availability will address the deficiencies.

     

    • Junction of Eaton Row & Hobart Place (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Smith’s Court & Great Windmill St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Wardour St & Old Compton St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Wardour St & Peter St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Berwick St & Livonia St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Berwick St & D’Arblay St (east side) (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Berwick St & Noel St (east side) (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Newman St & Newman Passage (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Ebury St & Grosvenor Gardens Mews North (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Graham Terrace & Bourne St, all 4 corners (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Barlow Place and Bruton St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Bourdon St and Grosvenor St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Berkeley Sq and Hill St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Vigo St and Burlington Gardens (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Vigo St and Sackville St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Brewer St and Lower James St (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Brewer St and Bridle Lane (marked in Green)
    • Junction of Brewer St and Great Pulteney St (marked in Green)
    • In Noel St, driveway outside YHA/Morgan Lowell (marked in Green)
    • In Noel St, junction with car park opposite YHA/Morgan Lowell (marked in Green)


    • Junction of Litchfield St and West St (assessed but no work required) (marked in Amber)
    • Denman St, along the south side (marked in red)
    • Eaton Mews South (marked in red)
    • Junction of Greek St and Manette St (marked in red)
    • St Martin’s Lane, west side, side entrance with tall kerbs (marked in red)
    • Junction of Chandos Place and William IV Street (marked in red)
    • Junction of Dean St and Carlisle St (marked in red)
    • Several points along the east side of Dean St (marked in red)

     

    Regards,

    Asset and Infrastructure Manager (Highways and Public Lighting)

    City Management and Communities

    Westminster City Council

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