We will listen to concerns over prom plans, says Department of Infrastructure

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The concerns of people with disabilities will be heard during the redevelopment work on Douglas promenades, according to the Department of Infrastructure.

The department has met representatives of the Manx Blind Welfare Society (MBWS) and other groups after they raised safety concerns about the proposal for a ‘shared space’ scheme.

The project will deliver a new road layout on Douglas promenades featuring narrower traffic lanes and no traffic signals or zebra crossings, which is intended to slow traffic and increase driver awareness.

A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure told iomtoday: ‘The Department is fully aware of the concerns that have been raised and will continue to take account of these issues as the proposals are developed in more detail.’

The views of visually impaired people will be sounded out in a survey organised by MBWS, he added.

MBWS chief executive officer Ian Cooil said: ‘I wrote to the Infrastructure Minister on behalf of the Society several weeks ago expressing concerns over the scheme, particularly in terms of safety.

‘His office has responded positively by promoting further discussion which will include canvassing the views of blind and visually impaired people.’

The DoI also gave assurances that the Douglas scheme will have extra safety features following the publication of a report that calls for all shared space schemes in the UK to be halted.

Based on a survey of 600 people, former Paralympian Lord Holmes, who is blind, described shared spaces as ‘dangerous and costly planning follies’.

‘Town centres are being turned into dangerous third-world traffic free-for-alls,’ he said. ‘Shared space is not a safe place.’

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