London’s worst canal ‘towpath’ – 3
Did a City of Westminster councillor fail the city in its duties?
I decided to add this interim installment to this investigation of the towpath situation between Little Venice and Lisson Grove as I think it lends an important aspect to the failures in providing proper access and good signage for disabled people who wish to use the canal towpaths between the W9 and NW8 areas of London.
Oft times it is viewed that the waterways authorities are the culprit when it comes to the substitute towpath issues, however the City of Westminster and its councillors are also pretty much as well part of the damning failures that have perpetuated this issue.
Maida Vale and Little Venice often have had MP’s and councillors extolling the benefits of Paddington’s waterways and the rewards that are reaped in terms of tourism. Fair enough, but it appears no-one has ever discussed the towpath restrictions and it appears that the preference is to just ignore the problems.
The Blomfield Road stretch, the critical part of the towpath access problems, was until recently the home of one of the City of Westminster’s foremost campaigners in disability access issues. From beginnings as a councillor in the London Borough of Camden, they rose to being a leading councillor in the Maida Vale Ward. Their bio (on their official Westminster headed paper) stated they were Westminster’s “deputy cabinet member transport and infrastructure, and lead member on disability issues.” They have now retired and moved to Camberley.
The Disability Discrimination Act was something of utmost importance to them – it was something they cited as being “very conscious of…” His wife was also a prominent disability campaigner and it is said that she often wrote and embarrassed those organisations who had invited her to their functions, but were unable to offer full access.
Its somewhat a mystery when one considers their home overlooked the critical situation being discussed here. Both were Mayors of the City of Westminster so there should have been awareness and influence upon the problems that perpetuate Little Venice’s canal towpath – and seen that they were sorted? BW (CRT) and the council had obligations duties under the DDA, hence one wonders whether the problems were perhaps elected for ignorance?