Charity victory as council abandons shared space plan


Pressure from a sight loss charity has lead to an Inverness Council u-turn over the removal of a pavement from an Inverness street

12th December 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Sight loss charity RNIB Scotland has won a major victory after Highland Council ditched plans to remove pavements and curbs from an Inverness city center street. 

Under original proposals, Castle Wynd was to be turned into a shared space, which would mean the pavements would have been levelled with pedestrians and drivers all using the same thoroughfare.

RNIB Scotland, along with a number of other national and local disability groups, said this would prevent people with sight loss from walking there.

In a consultation, the charity pointed out that guide-dog users and people using white canes needed raised pavements to walk properly to prevent accidents.

Last October the charity challenged local councillors to walk Inverness High Street while wearing special spectacles that simulate common sight loss.

Following meetings with Highland Council officials, the plans have now been amended to include a pavement running up the Wynd alongside the Town House.

Catriona Burness, parliamentary and policy manager at RNIB Scotland, hailed the u-turn.

 “We are particularly pleased that this will help guide dog users and long cane users to navigate their way safely,” she said.  

“Alongside Guide Dogs Scotland, Sight Action, the Highland Visually Impaired Working Age Group, the Highland Cycle Campaign, the Autism Rights Group Highland and Living Streets, we look forward to working with Highland Council in making the capital of the Highlands more accessible to locals and visitors alike."

Assurances have also been given on concerns about the form of lighting proposed for the area.

One responded quoted in the planning report described the proposals as being a typical example of 1960s/70s "brutalist architecture."