Disabled woman struggles to get to GP surgery after road closure

Portrait photo of Sue Wilders in her car

Hackney resident Sue Wilders is having difficulty visiting the doctor after the council restricted and closed roads in Broadway Market. - Credit: Sue Wilders

A disabled resident living near Broadway Market says a London Fields road closure has made getting to her doctor more difficult.

Sue Wilders, 58, suffers from an illness which affects her ability to walk and causes fatigue.

She says the Broadway Market road closure, implemented by Hackney Council before the creation of its low traffic neighbourhood in London Fields, means she must now park in a disabled bay about 150 metres from her doctor's surgery and walk the rest of the way.

READ MORE: Parents of children with disabilities feel ignored by “blanket” traffic measures

“Before that, I could park very close to the surgery on Broadway Market and now I can’t,” Sue said.

Sue used to cycle and walk around the borough but now, due to her disability, she can only get around by car.


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She says the disabled parking bays reserved for blue badge holders like herself are three times further away from the surgery than she can walk when she is feeling ill.

“It’s not that it has been impossible for me ever to get to the doctors because if I haven’t got the fatigue, I can get there and walk the extra distance but when I am fatigued and when I am ill, I just can’t get there,” the 58-year-old said.

A road sign which shows no cars or motorbikes are allowed in the area except for loading.

Broadway Market, where Sue's GP surgery is located, is now cut off to cars except for two disabled parking bays 150 metres away. - Credit: Sue Wilders

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She first contacted Hackney MPs and councillors - such as environment chief Jon Burke - about the issue in October but feels the council has been “single-minded” and unwilling to listen to people affected by measures aimed at reducing car journeys in the borough and encouraging more people to walk and cycle.

“I have lived in my flat for 24 years and to find out that I can’t get to my doctors – it’s really upsetting,” Sue told the Gazette.

READ MORE: New low-traffic neighbourhoods to be created around Hackney amid 20 street closures

Sue says she is supportive of actions to reduce pollution and fight global warming, but worries other people with disabilities and the elderly may also be affected by the limited access to Broadway Market where her GP surgery, London Fields Medical Centre, is located.

“It’s a serious issue for me," she said.

Sue Wilders standing at home wearing a bicycle helmet.

Sue used to cycle and walk to get around Hackney but her illness has made her reliant on a car for daily tasks and medical visits. - Credit: Sue Wilders

“I know that not everybody is affected in the same way, so obviously they can’t change everything for one person, but with not being able to get to the doctors’ surgery, I mean that’s got to affect quite a few people, I would have thought – not just me.”

READ MORE: Anti-LTN convoy delivers cabbages to Hackney Town Hall

In response, Cllr Burke said Broadway Market has remained closed to motor vehicles throughout the pandemic to support people to walk, cycle and shop locally and maintain social distancing.

Portrait image of Sue Wilders with a mask on

Sue Wilders suffers from an illness which makes it difficult to walk and causes fatigue. - Credit: Sue Wilders

The councillor said: “While this has made Broadway Market itself a more accessible place to shop and visit, we recognise the resident’s concerns about getting to her GP surgery."

Cllr Burke said the council has installed two disabled bays in Duncan Road, a street next to the GP, in response to Sue's concerns. 

He added: "In addition, several weeks ago I tasked officers with investigating whether we can provide additional access to Broadway Market for those who need it, including further disabled bays, and currently await a report and recommendations.”

Cllr Jon Burke at the eco energy conference. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Cllr Jon Burke at the eco energy conference. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Plans to reduce car journeys and pollution in the borough have led to the implementation of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in London Fields, Hackney Downs and Hoxton under experimental traffic orders. 

READ MORE: Stoke Newington clean air group slams council’s road closure plans

Measures such as bus gates, School Streets and traffic filters have also been used across Hackney to restrict through-traffic. 

London Fields Medical Centre has been contacted for comment. 

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