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Street Charter - the question that couldn't be asked at Newcastle City Council

August 29, 2021 3:26 PM

Disabled badgeCllr Greg Stone wanted to ask this question at the next meeting of Newcastle City Council but it was ruled out of order.

What steps has the council taken to monitor, review, and update the Street Charter since its adoption in 2017

Greg commented :

I sought to ask a question on the council's record on implementing the Street Charter to look at progress on issues such as crossings, pavement parking, overgrowing trees and shrubs, and cycles and scooters on pavements. The Charter's aspirations appear to be adrift from everyday experience of many people with disabilities and it's not clear how much attention the council has given this since the Charter was adopted in 2017.
I am disappointed that a very narrow interpretation of standing orders has been used to rule this question out as "factual, not policy". I immediately submitted a reworded question to comply with the "policy" requirement but this was deemed to have missed the deadline. It follows a less than helpful ruling at the last council meeting where a disabled member of the public was not permitted a right of reply on the petition they'd presented.
The administration's recent record on disabilities, including Shopmobility cuts, blue badge parking charges, and on consulting disabled people over the Blackett Street proposals, is not great. I'm concerned at the perception the council is reluctant to allow discussion of disabilities issues in the council chamber which risk showing it in a less than positive light.
I am supportive of the Disability Forum's suggestion that all councillors should undergo awareness training including a practical session navigating the city centre with mobility or visibility impairments.