Jul 30

Oxford Council Calls For Inclusive City Centre


Oxford City Centre needs to be made more accessible for disabled residents and visitors as it continues to re-open to the public, according to the local authority and charities.

Earlier this week, Oxford City Council called for more funding from the government to enable the area to be made safer with help of stewards.

Councillor Marie Tidball, cabinet member for support local communities, who is a disabled woman herself, said: “It is essential for the protection of the health of disabled people and their inclusion in our society that measures taken to exit lockdown consider their elevated risk of contracting coronavirus.”

She noted that the council would not be able to raise funds for stewarding itself, which is why it needs further assistance from the government.

This has now received the support of local charities and advocates for disabled people, including Elmore Community Services, My Life My Choice, Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, and Connection Support.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has given the council £134,950 from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to introduce safety measures, such as signage and one-way systems to help maintain social distancing guidelines.

Overall, the government is providing £50 million from the European Regional Development Fund to councils across England to be able to safely open commercial areas and high streets amid the pandemic.

Twelve stewards have also been placed in the city centre and Cowley Road to manage pedestrian flow and provide people with support on how to use one-way pavement guidance and advice on social distance rules.

However, MHCLG states the council is not eligible to claim funding for these stewards, despite their assistance to disabled people in the city.

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