Disabled woman struggles to get to GP surgery after road closure
- 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.
“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.
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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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.