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Thursday, December 19, 2013
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The day the Mayor went blind
Thursday, 17 October 2013
Axminster Mayor Jeremy Walden’s objection to the proposed new location for the town’s Post Office was reinforced after he experienced what it was like to be blind.
Councillor Walden agreed to be blindfolded and escorted by a guide dog to Martin’s Newsagent, situated on one of the town’s most dangerous corners and selected for the proposed home for the local Post Office, which may be moved from its currentWest Street site.
The Mayor agreed to the experiment as part of the Guide Dogs for the Blind awareness campaign. The proposed new post office premises were not part of the planned route, but Mr Walden asked for it to be included.
Many in the town are strongly opposed to the plans by Post Offoce Ltd to move the facility because of the narrow pavement, which is often mounted by heavy goods vehicles passing through Axminster.
Led by guide dog Dotty and Liz Orme, Councillor Walden started his walk from the Church Rooms and slowly made his way towards Martin’s (McColl’s) newsagents.
He reached the shop without incident but came unstuck when starting the return leg as a mobility scooter had been parked in a precarious position outside the shop.
Councillor Walden believes his experiment proved a point. Having made it back to Church Rooms, he said: “My original view that it is an unacceptable location (for the post office) was reinforced, especially with a scooter parked on the pavement.”
Guide dog user Andrew Starr wasn’t keen on the proposed post office relocation either.
He said: “It can be a bit problematic [the stretch of pavement], especially if a lot of people are around,
“It is difficult for him [guide dog Timber] to manoeuvre.”
A Post Office Ltd spokesperson revealed that the company has met with Axminster Town Council, and said: “Representatives from Post Office Ltd attended a meeting with Axminster Town Council on October 8th.
“We have also offered to attend the meeting planned on October 14th to hear the views and concerns of the council, post office customers and residents of Axminster.
“The proposed move is subject to public consultation. The purpose of the consultation process is to gather the thoughts of members of the local community on the proposals.
“That includes Mayor Walden, and we hope that he and the council will share their views on the proposals.
“As we have stressed throughout this process, no decisions will be made until the end of the consultation period.
“All issued raised during that engagement process will be seriously considered alongside any other points made during the consultation.”
All content © of Pulmans Weekly News unless stated otherwise.
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