Pensioner hits out at lack of disabled bays at key Jarrow building
A row has erupted over parking bays at a key building in South Tyneside.
A pensioner claims that work to revamp Jarrow Hub has made accessing the site a “nightmare” for disabled drivers.
Kevin Blair, 68, says that since work started on the £3million project, eight disabled bays at the facility have been inaccessible.
Mr Blair has questioned why council bosses have not moved to temporarily replace the bays while the work is ongoing to ensure disabled drivers can access the buildings on the site easily.
He says that he has had to cancel a number of appointments with his chiropodist due to his inability to get parked.
Mr Blair, from Hebburn, said: “There were eight disabled parking bays there, but they have just vanished. There is nowhere for anyone who is disabled to park.
“The decision not to replace at least some of those bays was clearly made without taking disabled drivers into account.
“It’s a disgrace. I don’t expect to have eight disabled bays available while the work is going on, but they could give us a fighting chance.
“My chiropodist is based in there and I’ve had to cancel two appointments because I couldn’t get parked and I struggle to walk any real distance.”
Mr Blair says he has contacted a number of councillors over the issue, but none of them have been able to come up with a positive resolution.
The redevelopment of Jarrow Hub – which is set to be completed later this year – will see the current community centre in Cambrian Street transformed to create a multi-purpose leisure facility, incorporating a new library.
The project involves the redesigning of the existing gym, sports hall, dance studios and theatre space as well as refurbished toilets and changing facilities.
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “It is regrettable that some of the disabled parking provision outside Jarrow Hub is temporarily inaccessible.
“This is due to ongoing works to redevelop the former Jarrow CA into a modern multi-purpose new facility, with the area in question inside the contractor’s site compound.
“This was necessary to ensure safe working access for the contractor.
“We would like to remind drivers that there are plenty of parking bays in the local area, including spaces near the entrance to the building from Grange Road.
“There are also bays specifically reserved for blue badge holders close to the centre on Staple Road and these bays will remain available for the duration of the works.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Richard Lane, head of communications at disability charity Scope, said: “Disabled people rely on accessible parking bays to get to shopping centres, the high street and be a part of their local community.
“Some disabled people have no alternative but to use their cars, as they are unable to use public transport.
“The removal of these parking bays will mean that some disabled people will have no choice but stay at home or be forced to use expensive taxis.
“The council should do all it can to reduce the impact of this decision on disabled residents.”