BARNSLEY town centre’s parking provision is discouraging people with physical disabilities going into town, says a concerned pensioner.

Denise Foers, 71, has been a user of The Well for three years.

The service, which provides complementary therapies for people affected by cancer, administered by the Barnsley Hospital Charity, was housed in the Core building on County Way.

But with the council purchasing the building to make way for a new business hub, the service moved around the corner into the Queens Court Business Centre, in the former Queens Hotel on Regent Street.

This may not seem far, but for Denise - who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and spinal problems which make walking any more than a short distance a struggle - it makes accessing those vital services a struggle.

In Text Promo Image

“The only place we can park is County Way,” said Denise, of Cornwell Close, Monk Bretton.

“But I can’t walk from there, and there’s nowhere to stop outside the building even with a blue badge. I try not to use a wheelchair because I believe if you don’t use your legs you’ll lose them.”

This issue brought to Denise’s attention the wider problem of a lack of accessible parking in the town centre.

There are currently large council car parks on County Way - although this is set to be reduced in size along with the business hub plans - Sackville Street and Churchfield, and smaller lots on St Mary’s Place, Wellington Street and Graham’s Orchard, as well as on-street spaces in some areas.

And all of these are free for blue badge holders like Denise - but she says none of them provide easy access to the most useful parts of the town centre.

“I just don’t think they’re thinking about accessibility,” said Denise.

“I can’t get out and about by myself because I am unsteady on my feet.

“I think it’s got worse rather than better. I’ve always supported the town centre and the market. But I’ve not even seen a ramp in the new market.

“Are they wanting to encourage people to go into town or not?”

Matt Gladstone, Barnsley Council’s executive director for place, said while the council couldn’t comment on individual cases, it does offer free all-day parking in all of its car parks and on-street bays in a bid to make the town centre ‘more accessible to blue badge holders’.