Sunderland rail station
Sunderland train station in the city centre

Council bosses in Sunderland are implementing a number of measures aimed at improving accessibility in its city centre for disabled residents.

Councillors at Sunderland City Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee have been updated on work being carried out to improve accessibility on its city centre.

Stephen Dixon, group engineer from the council traffic projects team, explained how a number of steps have been made, with further plans being lined up.

He said: “All new projects that we approach fully consider accessibility needs. All infrastructure, planning and transportation service schemes will continue to take into consideration accessibility guidance and that will carry on, that’s current, planned, and future schemes.”

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The city council already has in place an “access for all” programme to target wider areas where residents need better access to local facilities.

Work to date has included multiple dropped crossings or path extensions to allow better and easier access to transport links, GP surgeries, health centres and shopping areas.

Councillor Juliana Heron said work to implement dropped curbs has been particularly beneficial.

She said: “They are essential to anybody who has mobility problems, there are a lot of scooters about now, and to make areas all accessible for all, the dropped curbs are a major thing for the people. I think it’s getting there, but I think we still have a bit to go.”

Issues to improve, she said, include ensuring buses access curbs at the designated stops, and council chiefs stressed they do work with operators to improve accessibility.

The city has been active in improving facilities for its disabled residents. Last year a new centre to support people living with disabilities – which was developed by Sunderland City Council – was completed.

It was also in Sunderland that a team of health academics came together to launch a new business aimed at improving occupational health care and domiciliary care services.

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