‘A total mess’: Uproar over Tipton cycle lane and walkway improvements

Tipton resident Daren Thompson, is not impressed with the ramp and cycle lane improvement scheme in Birmingham New Road
Tipton resident Daren Thompson, is not impressed with the ramp and cycle lane improvement scheme in Birmingham New Road

Sandwell Council said “sentiment” for the work was positive overall, with more than 70 per cent of residents in the Birmingham New Road area welcoming it.

A new cycling route has been laid and a flight of steps demolished to make way for new ‘zig-zag’ access ramp, aimed at improving facilities for residents with mobility issues. The civic centre added that a consultation was held with the community before the work was carried out.

But resident Daren Thompson, 54, disagreed, claiming that many householders were in uproar over the standard of the work, reduced access to their homes, visiting motorists having difficulty carrying out reverse manoeuvres since the walkway was built as it took up more space, the closeness of the cycle lane to a resident’s front room and lack of consultation.

“We had a letter stating the council was building a cycling path,” he said. “We weren’t expecting anything like what we’ve actually ended up with. Many of us are unhappy with the outcome.

“This work has been going on for about seven months now. They have closed off our road. There is no turning point. We’ve been left with a 250-yard long road that leads nowhere.”

He added: “There used to be some steps which we understand were removed due to safety. It’s been replaced by a zig-zag ramp which is too steep for those unsteady on their feet and there are no railings. I think a risk assessment is needed for it.

“They removed about 30 trees to put this in. I don’t think there was enough consultation. They need to organise a meeting with all the residents.

“We were promised a meeting three months ago by a man who came round and said he was from the council, but it never materialised,” Mr Thompson, a driver, said.

In a statement, Sandwell Council said: “A new ramp has been constructed along Birmingham New Road to replace the existing steps which did not comply with the current Disability Discrimination Act regulations. The new ramp will assist all highway users in an area where the current level differences on the land can make it difficult for highway users with limited mobility to access the footways.

“Residents and businesses were sent consultation information relating to the scheme and all of the information and plans were made available online for members of the public to view.

“We shared our consultation plans with 3,947 unique visitors to the site in February/March 2021; 540 individuals have engaged with the site and we have collected 1,431 contributions and comments. Additionally, letters with information about the scheme, links to Commonplace and a hard copy version of the survey were posted to direct house/business frontages along the A4123. Taking into account the Commonplace survey results, and the letter responses, the sentiment recorded towards the scheme was 73 per cent neutral or positive.

“We also engaged local disability groups via email and subsequently had a meeting with Sandwell Visually Impaired. The sentiment from the meeting was positive. Further letters were sent to residents/businesses in February 2022 notifying them about the scheme.”

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