Newcastle City Neighbourhood (Ward) charters. – October 2009 v1.6
A new initiative.
You may not know that your City Ward is now consulting about introducing a Neighbourhood Ward Charter to be launched officially in April 2010, allowing communities to have a say in how public services should work for them at a local level. This includes involvement of residents in identifying priorities important to them that will be delivered in tandem with public services within an agreed timescale in order to make their neighbourhoods better places in which to live thereby improving their quality of life. So you may consider that some of the things Council is doing in your Ward is very good or needs to be changed.
The Council’s Head of neighbourhood management says
“A neighbourhood charter is an agreement between the council, its partners and the community which will detail how public services will work with residents to make their neighbourhoods better places to live improving their quality of life. The purpose of a charter is to help us give residents the services they want at a local level giving them a bigger say over health, housing, employment, education, policing and local facilities. Charters can be helpful in understanding problems, identifying what's most important for action, and measuring how well we are doing in making changes. We hope the charter will contain the things that are important for local people to make the area a better place for everyone. We can then identify what the Council and their partners need to do to make things better. It will also help in providing information about what we can do to help ourselves to improve local conditions.”
So each Ward must decide how they will communicate with you, possibly by newsletter, but you are invited now to tell your Ward Coordinator about the things you consider need to be done. You must do this now before it is too late.
Newcastle Disability Forum is here offering disabled people a list of
possible suggested issues faced by Disabled people in the City. So you may select and adapt any topic which affects you personally and then write with your own list to ask for them to be included in the new Charter for your own Ward. Please do not just send off this list as it stands – it must be
If you wish to make any additions or you have comments about these suggestions version number 1.6 please tell the office tel 2854556 or email email@example.com
Regrettably it has now proved to be essential that these items have to be very specific and detailed because whilst the current Council policies declare inclusivity the current evidence is that some officers know the requirements but managers override officers under their own opt-out clause of „when
appropriate‟ so thereby leaving doubt that the Council is complying with its own Disability Equality Duty.
So you are urged to pick or re-draft topics which affect your personal
quality of life in your Ward. It is suggested that you may wish to commence your list with a preamble or first paragraph like the preamble which appears below. Do consider if this is suitable for you then either totally exclude or modify it to suit you personally.
Preamble followed by Topics for selection
Preamble: The following items are specifically to improve my personal
quality of life in my ward but I would suggest that they may have a much wider relevance to benefit the many residents with a particular emphasis on inclusivity as they could aid the needs of slow and luggage carrying pedestrians, pram pushers, wheelchair users, wheelchair pushers, guide dog users and other people with a permanent or temporary physical or sensory disability whose needs have often been neglected. Some items are necessarily very detailed because to date broad inclusive policies have proved to be frequently inadequate.
1 Getting around
1.1 When considering such as highway proposals or traffic light timing
Priority for movements must be given to pedestrians, followed by
cyclists, buses, trade vehicles, taxis, and then private cars. 1.2 Footways to be installed with a smooth uninterrupted surface and
maintained without any trips or hazards.
1.3 Regulation dropped kerbs to be provided at all road junctions and at
intervals along any street not exceeding 50 M. (to enable wheelchair
uses and others to mount the near footpath when unloading from a rear
1.4 Footpath obstructions only to be placed within 450 mm of the back of footpath or within 450 mm of the kerb face. A clear footway with a width no less than 1.0 M. to be maintained clear of permanent or temporary obstructions, this necessitates a prompt clearance of all overhanging foliage back to the highway boundary and overhead. Enforceable arrangements are essential to ensure sensible placing, leaving a clear metre width, of wheeled bins by residents and staff. Street furniture must be as visible as possible to partially sighted people. i.e. have a strong colour contrast with the background e.g. a very dark colour with a reflective white or yellow high visibility band 1.4 M above ground level or near the top of lower objects such as kerbside bollards. No obstruction to have any projections lower than 2.2 M above ground level with the exception of soft waste bins and small statutory notices. Stainless/brushed steel street furniture can cause particular colour contrast or glare problems to people with low vision and should never be used. Only circular section poles and posts are acceptable.
1.5 Pedestrian handrails and barriers to conform to BSS 8300:2001
clause 5.10.1 having a white, bright yellow or high visibility top rail as well as end rails which should be brought down to ground level or taken horizontally into walls.
1.6 Policing - drivers to be discouraged from parking on footpaths to
reduce kerb and footpath damage. Whenever parking occurs causing a footpath passage width to be less than 0.9 M or when left unattended and/or with an open rear door, hatch or overhanging tailgate to be charged for leaving an obstruction likely to cause serious injury to a blind, partially sighted person or other pedestrians.
1.7 Cycling on footpath to be discouraged by the installation of reserved cycle tracks or on highway cycle lanes. Whenever shared footpath and cycle ways are installed they must be segregated in compliance with Department for Transport Guidance on the use of tactile paving surfaces [Chapter 5] In particular with the recommended tactile
markings and thermo plastic white (or strong colour contrasting) path diagrams at ends and junctions together with a continuous strong colour contrasting tactile separator throughout the length.
1.8 All controlled pedestrian crossings must have their approaches
marked with red (or strong colour contrasting) tactile blister paving and, other than zebras, have duplicated controls on left and right of the dropped kerbs in accordance with „puffin‟ standards, including tactile
buttons and eye level indicators with audible safe crossing audio clearance whenever possible. Interval time settings should provide pedestrian priority in conjunction with the installed „pedestrian waiting‟
technology‟ i.e. „WAIT‟ states should be cancelled whenever
pedestrians are no longer waiting
1.9 No ‘Shared spaces’, „Shared Surfaces‟ or similar concepts of
combined vehicular and pedestrian „kerb less‟ public ways to be
installed which rely on „eye contact‟ to determine crossing safety or
priority, unless continuous recognised tactile warnings are provided in
lieu of all kerbs.
2. Housing – For the benefit of everyone.
2.1 All new housing private or public, and access thereto, to conform to the
ideals of the lifetime home in order to make it possible for residents to
remain in their dwelling even when confronted by new mobility or
sensory disabilities. Frequently overlooked are: storage for
wheelchairs/powered scooters, cooking extraction equipment, and
humidification equipment, accessible heating controls, door entry
systems and lifts.
2.2 New construction of apartment flats to have two bedrooms to allow for
residential carers, and thereby conform to HM Government Social Care
2.3 All housing estates to provide wide parking 4.8M x 3.6M for 1 place per
1.5 bedrooms in a block.
2.4 As far is possible these principals should always apply during house/flat
3. Leisure - For the benefit of everyone.
3.1 Open spaces and parkland to be safely accessible to all and maintained
in that state. Possible new open spaces nearer residents without to be
investigated and provided where possible.
4. Public Transport for all.
4.1 The authority to work with the public transport authority to ensure that
all residents have at a reasonable cost, access to a reliable public
transport suitable for their needs available from the door when
personally justified or within a reasonable distance so as to reach local
facilities and public transport hubs.
4.2 Also to ensure up to date (ideally „real time‟) transport information, free
and in inclusive formats.
5. Signage and Posters by the Authority
5.1 As directed by Government guidance all pedestrian signage or posters
placed by the Council to conform to the latest „Sign Design Guide‟
currently (ISBN 185878 412 3) It is important that the minimum text
character height should not be less than 6% of the sight distance (see
the top line of the graph on page 50 of the Guide). This includes finger
signs and park signs and notices.
6. Disabled people in the Ward.
6.1 Institute bi-annual access audits involving disabled people in the Ward,
to review aims and measure achievements.
6.2 Ward meetings are frequently held in marginally or inaccessible
premises, i.e. Public address systems with a loop should always be
used and the acoustics, of the space must be damped when an echo
prevents clear and distinct audio. Video and slide presentations must be
accompanied by verbal or audio description for people with poor vision.
The current situations are known to detract from attendance which is