A DISABLED man and his wife have described Linwood’s pavements as a no-go zone for wheelchair users.

John Westwood, 68, was diagnosed with the debilitating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 12 years ago and had to give up work as a taxi driver.

He has little mobility of his own and needs the help of his retired civil servant wife Hilary, 70, to get out and about.

She said the appalling condition of pavements near her home and in the town generally makes that task almost impossible.

A lack of dips or access points also makes crossing roads extremely difficult and increases the risk of accidents.

Hilary told The Gazette: “My husband, who has breathing difficulties, is unable to go out the house without assistance.

“To attend medical appointments, I need to take him by wheelchair, which is no mean feat.

“The terrible state of our pavements makes it extremely difficult to push or control his chair. This in turn increases the risk of him falling out or the wheelchair toppling over.

“John also suffers from osteoporosis, which means he suffers great pain when the chair is passing over the bumpy surfaces.

“We live in Fulwood Avenue and most of the pavements here are a disgrace.”

Pavement potholes also mean John has limited use of his mobility scooter.
Hilary said: “Travelling over the cracked surfaces in the scooter affects his bones and he suffers for days afterwards.”

Inconsiderate drivers who park on the pavements are also making life difficult for wheelchair users.

“Often, their vehicles are parked over wheelchair access points such as dips in the pavement,” said Hilary. “I then have to reverse or tilt the wheelchair to cross the road, which is not ideal from a safety point of view.

“The pavements are particularly dangerous in the winter when they are iced over.

“If they were upgraded, with more dips and a ban on pavement parking, it would be safer for all concerned.”

Hilary and John have lived in Linwood for the last 20 years and have three grown-up children and five grandchildren.

John added: “The pavements are so rough in places, it’s almost impossible to use a wheelchair at times.

“It means we have to take the car far more often, which has its own problems for someone like myself.”

Councillor James Sheridan, who represents Linwood, has called on Renfrewshire Council to improve the town’s pavements as a matter of urgency.

He said: “Disabled people are exposing themselves to real danger here on a daily basis.

“There also needs to be more access points for wheelchair users, such as dipped kerbs, particularly near supermarkets and GP surgeries.

“I have asked council officers to survey the condition of our pavements as a matter of urgency.”

A council spokesperson said: members of the roads team are arranging to meet Councillor Sheridan to discuss his concerns.

“We’re always ready to listen to suggestions from the community to ensure we continue to provide a safe, accessible road and footway network in Renfrewshire,” added the spokesperson.“Improvements in Linwood are included as part of our £47million, six-year investment in our roads and footways. There are also improvements at the junction of Fulwood Avenue and Bridge of Weir Road taking place over the summer period, including dropped kerbs at appropriate locations.”