“Disabled people aren’t listened to by the City Council” – Green Party spokesperson highlights lack of disabled access in Leicester

By Will Miller

A Green Party campaigner is calling on more to be done in Leicester to help improve the lives of disabled people living in the city.

Mags Lewis is the Green Party’s national disability spokesperson and in last month’s local elections stood as the party’s candidate to be Mayor of Leicester, a post won again by Sir Peter Soulsby.

Dedicated: Mrs Lewis campaigning for the Green Party

“The mayor kind of focuses on shiny projects like Jubilee Square, but the way Jubilee Square is designed makes it a disabled free zone for many disabled people,” she said.

“If you’re visually impaired, the layout and the way it’s been designed is just a nightmare, and secondly they have got rid of some of the blue badge parking spaces.”

Jubilee Square went through refurbishments in 2014, costing £4 million, but Mrs Lewis said those works subsequently made it hard for disabled people to enjoy the area.

In response, Leicester City Council said: “Jubilee Square, like other parts of the city, meets all of the relevant highway design standards and includes tactile paving and other design measures to guide pedestrians.

“There have been two minor accidents in Jubilee Square since it opened in 2015. Although unfortunate, this is a very low rate.”

Then council added: “Applegate car park is right next to the square and is for Blue Badge holders only.” 

Mrs Lewis also highlighted a potential problem with the planned revamp of the city’s railway station.

“Stop spending money on these shiny projects, for example like at the railway station, they’re talking about another refurbishment costing £17 million, but there still isn’t a toilet on the ground floor,” she said.

“The disabled community were promised an accessible toilet years ago.

“A lot of disabled people literally plan their trips on where they can access loos… it’s just a joke.”

Leicester City Council replied: “We are not responsible for the design of the building or the toilet facilities at the railway station, but they will be improved as part of the redesign of the station.”

According to Leicestershire County Council, an estimated 210,000 (20 per cent) of residents in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have some form of disability or long-term health problem.  

Mrs Lewis believes that disabled people in Leicester aren’t listened to by the city council.

“They started putting artwork on roads and crossings, and for disabled people like me who balance is an issue for, having these very bright roads with different pictures on can be disorientating, and basically, I was made to feel like I was a bit of a pain.”

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