Eye-opening experience for council

David Tutt on a mobility scooter SUS-140207-103330001
David Tutt on a mobility scooter SUS-140207-103330001

Three councillors took up the challenge of joining members of Eastbourne Access Group for a mobility scooter ride around the town centre.

Cllr David Tutt, the leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, Eastbourne mayor Janet Coles – the council’s disability champion – and Cllr Pat Hearn took part on Monday morning (June 30).

Eastbourne Access Group promotes disability awareness within the town and campaigns to make it a friendly place for disabled people. Chair of the group Ian Westgate was keen to give councillors first-hand experience of the daily challenges mobility vehicle users have travelling on Eastbourne’s pavements – and was delighted with how the ride went.

Cllr Tutt said afterwards, “The day made me aware of how difficult it can be to get around town when you use a mobility scooter, not only navigating challenging roads and pavements but also attempting to shop.”

Eastbourne mayor Janet Coles said the morning was ‘an enlightening experience’ for her.

“Uneven pavements and non-existent or poorly maintained dropped kerbs made for, at times, a bone-rattling drive. I now have a greater understanding of the problems faced by people for whom their only mode of transport is a mobility scooter or wheelchair.”

Councillor Pat Hearn added, “It certainly opened my eyes to the many problems experienced by scooter users.

“Crossing roads where there were parked vehicles blocking our line of sight presented a major hazard, while uneven and undulating pavements also made life extremely difficult. In many parts of Eastbourne there are insufficient dropped kerbs and we must focus on working with the various agencies to address this.”

The group thanked Fred Connell at Shopmobility for lending the scooters.