Disabled people forced to avoid Hampstead because of street clutter

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:47 20 January 2015

Jeffrey Harvey supports Camden Council's decision to warn Hampstead businesses about street clutter. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Jeffrey Harvey supports Camden Council's decision to warn Hampstead businesses about street clutter. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

Disabled people are forced to avoid Hampstead because of its street clutter and bumpy pavements, a wheelchair user has claimed.

A group of disabled Camden residents have spoken out in support of a council crackdown on advertising boards and newspaper delivery trollies obstructing pavements in Heath Street.

They have branded Hampstead’s streets an “obstacle course”, with one woman warning that many avoid the area altogether because it is “impassable”.

Their comments follow claims made in the Ham&High two weeks ago that Camden has “bullied” independent businesses by ordering them to remove anything left on public highways.

Eve Grace, 69, who is in a wheelchair after breaking her neck in an accident, said: “Anywhere in Hampstead with the cafés outside and the advertising boards, all this is a bit of a nuisance.”

The retired volunteer, of Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park, added: “I never go up to Hampstead anymore because it is so impassable, apart from anything else because it is so bumpy.

“It’s why many don’t go out. It makes it necessary to stay at home. We go only where it’s safe

“The world wasn’t built for people in wheelchairs.”

A handful of business owners in Heath Street said they have never received complaints about their a-boards or trollies.

They added that they use signs to attract business, and that they have nowhere inside to store their boards or trollies.

However, this week a group of disabled residents wrote to the Ham&High to welcome the council’s decision to remove them.

Wheelchair user computer consultant Jeffrey Harvey, who has rare muscle disorder Pompe Disease, said: “It makes it more difficult to just go down the pavement, especially for visually impaired people when obstructions can be quite a surprise to them.”

Of the sign he is pictured with in Hampstead on Monday, the 45-year-old, of Mortimer Crescent, Kilburn, added: “If you were a visually impaired person, you wouldn’t expect that sign to be there.

“I noticed as I went past that people don’t seem to pay it any mind as for them, they can walk past it but I couldn’t fit through or just walk around it.”

None of the signs appear to have been removed so far.

Visually impaired Glen Coull, 77, of Parkhill Road, Belsize Park, said: “We should just say, tough! It’s an annoyance to people.”

Cllr Phil Jones, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and planning said: “Many local blind and partially-sighted people have told me that these obstructions make their lives very difficult.

“ I am pleased that another group has supported our common sense decision in relation to this.

“The council has a legal obligation to keep footpaths free of such obstructions to allow safe, unhindered access to all users, particularly to our residents and visitors who have visual impairments or mobility issues.

“We feel that local businesses also have an obligation to assist.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Yesterday, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Yesterday, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.

Yesterday, 11:55

Passengers on the Barking to Gospel Oak line have become used to delays and disruption in recent times.

Wed, 17:58

A man has been convicted over the “senseless” stabbing of a Dutch man in Camden Lock in 2016.

Wed, 17:04

Camden Council will correct a sign that says a park will be closed every day at dusk, despite it having no way to shut it.

Wed, 13:01

A Cumbrian couple have been left scared for their property after receiving a bailiff’s letter demanding council tax for a Maida Vale property they have no connection to.

Wed, 12:26

Barnet Council has apologised to residents after bungled changes to bin collections saw households going nearly two weeks without having them emptied


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now