Wheelchair ‘nightmare’ for disabled woman in Dungannon town centre

A disabled Dungannon woman, who had a near-miss with a car after her wheelchair ran out of control in Market Square, has claimed the town’s new precinct area has turned a trip to the shops into a nightmare ordeal.

58-year-old Evelyn Cummings has compiled a catalogue of potential death-traps in the newly refurbished town centre, which was meant to transform the town and encourage more visitors and shoppers.

Evelyn Cummings at the point where she lost control of her wheelchair

Evelyn Cummings at the point where she lost control of her wheelchair

She slammed the planners behind the £2.3 million Public Realm Scheme for turning her daily wheelchair route into a litany of frustrations and life-threatening hazards.

Among the trials faced by Evelyn and other wheelchair users are steep inclines at the pedestrian crossings, poorly placed traffic lights which mean that wheelchair users can’t see the green man, uneven cobbles, a lamp post blocking access to and from the disabled parking bays, drainage gullies which trap wheels, as well as steeper pavements and higher kerbs.

“I am so upset that I am no longer able to get about the Square in my wheelchair”, she said.

“I have been visiting the shops here for years, and have never had a problem before.

“It is now impossible for me to turn from Thomas Street into Market Square, so steep is the incline leading to the pedestrian crossing.

“The other day, my wheelchair ran out of control and carried me onto the road. It was a miracle I wasn’t hit by an oncoming car.

“Other parts of the square are now a complete no go area for me, as I can’t manage the bumps and inclines.

“I am so annoyed that I could cry. I want the planners and the council to rectify the situation immediately.

“If they took advice from disability organisations before the plans were made up, it must have been very poor advice indeed.”

UUP Councillor Walter Cuddy has said that the council is in negotiation with disability groups to make the town more accessible to people with mobility problems.

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