Parking spaces used by disabled people in Sheffield city centre removed to comply with social distancing guidelines
Disabled Sheffield city centre workers have complained to the council after eight parking spaces on Division Street were removed to comply with social distancing guidelines.
Kathyrn Littlewood, who works at the Circle on Rockingham Lane, noticed the spaces had gone when she visited work last Friday, posting a picture of the new road layout on Twitter.
The bays have been filled in with tarmac in order to widen the pavement outside Pieminister as part of a scheme to enable easier social distancing in the city centre.
However, Kathryn said the eight bays were the only place in the city centre that she and other disabled members of staff at the Circle could park close enough to work.
Public speaker, playwright and author Kathryn, who suffers from mobility problems, said: “This will effectively put Sheffield city centre off-limits for many disabled people. Those spaces were really important for us.
“They were pay and display but if you have a blue badge you could park there all day. There is no way I can go back into the office unless there is somewhere close by that I can park.
“The Equality Act says people with disabilities should have equal rights but how can that be the case when there is nowhere for me to park?”
One of the organisations which uses the Circle is Disability Sheffield, who Kathyrn says have 11 disabled members of staff plus several personal assistants and numerous volunteers.
She said the manager had now written to Sheffield Council asking them to reconsider their decision or find another place that staff and volunteers can park which is equally close.
Since the pandemic began earlier this year, Sheffield Council has made changes to numerous streets in the city, including the pedestrianisation of roads and the removal of street-side parking.
Many of these like the pedestrianisation of Division Street have been widely praised but others such as the removal of street-side parking in Broomhill have come in for criticism from local shopkeepers.
A Sheffield Council spokesperson said: “Since lockdown lifted and people started to return to the city centre, it has been our priority to ensure that people can do this safely and in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
"We have therefore carried out work to pedestrianise areas and widen pavements in a range of locations to give people enough space to distance whilst moving around the city centre.
“Division Street is a popular location for visitors, so we have temporarily removed parking bays to widen the pavement to allow for this.
“Free disabled parking is still available close by to Division Street, such as at Carver Lane Car Park and on Rockingham Street. However we understand that these changes may affect people’s usual journeys, and we will look at how we can improve this.”