Council must install ‘tactile paving’

Posted: 31st October 2012

Zebra crossingA partially sighted campaigner has triumphed in his High Court fight to force a London council to invest in ‘tactile paving’ at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings so that blind people can feel their way across roads.

In upholding Mohammed Mohsan Ali’s judicial review challenge, a judge found that the London Borough of Newham had unlawfully failed to follow Department of Transport guidance, formulated in consultation with the RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Ruling that the council was not entitled to go its own way and ‘maintain the status quo’, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said: ‘I conclude that Newham was required to follow the national guidance unless it had good reasons to depart from it. I find no such good reasons...it was not suggested that there were any special circumstances in Newham that made the national guidance inappropriate.

‘The fact that Newham consulted on its proposals, and formed its own view on how to balance the interests of other affected groups against the needs of the visually impaired does not, in my view, provide a good reason for departing from the guidance’.

Observing that he was ‘not impressed by the argument that other London boroughs are also departing substantially from the national guidance’, the judge concluded: ‘It may turn out that this judgment has an effect beyond the local authority of Newham.’