17:00 Tuesday 13 November 2012

Town centre named in the top 10 'most cluttered' in the UK

Written byROB SMYTH

A TOWN in North West Leicestershire has been named in the nation’s top 10 worst places for ‘street clutter’— making it increasingly hazardous for people with sight loss to negotiate.

Ashby High Street
Ashby High Street

A survey by Guide Dogs saw 65 towns across the UK investigated over obstructions such as A-boards, bins and vehicles parked on pavements.

It found that Ashby was the sixth worst high street in the country, with 52 items blocking the route for pedestrians.

Camden High Street, in London, was named as the most cluttered street.

Ashby was also fifth in the list of the top 10 most A-board-cluttered high streets, with 24 found. Colchester High Street was top with 65.

David Cowdrey, head of campaigns at Guide Dogs, said: “Street clutter has blighted our pavements for too long and councils need to take action to clean up our streets immediately.

“A-boards should be positioned consistently along a pavement, leaving an unobstructed pathway for pedestrians.

“We want councils to introduce a licensing system for A-boards, allowing enforcement to reduce clutter and position them so they don’t obstruct pavements.”

The survey was conducted to highlight the sheer volume of clutter found on pavements across the UK, which causes a massive problem for blind and partially sighted people, wheelchair users, mobility-impaired pedestrians and parents with pushchairs.

One of the main problems with Aboards in all the towns surveyed was the inconsistency of their placement.

Some were placed three side by side forcing pedestrians into the road or creating a slalom which was difficult to manoeuvre through.

The report also highlighted that wheelie bins, hanging baskets, trees, parked cars, sign posts, bollards and street cafe furniture also caused major issues on pavements.

It has been recommended that street clutter should be positioned along a pavement consistently, leaving an unobstructed pathway for pedestrians, and a gap of 1.5 metres should be left where possible.

Businesses have also been urged to restrict the use of A-boards where possible.

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