Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury linked by Paralympic legacy walkway

Walkway from Stoke Mandeville Stadium to Aylesbury Town centre
Image caption BuDS wants to install features such as audio descriptions and a tapping rail

A walkway designed to be used by people with any disability is set to be built in Buckinghamshire as a Paralympic legacy.

The pavement connecting Stoke Mandeville stadium with Aylesbury town centre is already adapted for those with mobility problems.

Bucks Disability Service (BuDS) is now planning to add devices to help those with visual and hearing impairments.

BuDS said it "could be the UK's first universally accessible walkway".

The first phase of the 2.4km route included ramping each junction for wheelchairs, installing push button crossings, islands in the middle of wider roads and benches at frequent intervals.

It was finished in time for the Paralympics opening ceremony at the stadium in August, at a cost of no more than £80,000, met by the county council from its existing budget.

'Tricky issues'

An agreement has now been signed with Buckinghamshire County Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Aylesbury Town Council to try and develop it as a route "accessible for all disabled people, whatever their impairment".

BuDS wants to install features such as audio descriptions and a tapping rail for those who use white sticks.

It is looking for funding from sponsorship, grants or contributions from developers, known as section 106 money.

Andrew Clark, from BuDS, said: "The whole route has to be curbed in a particular way so that it's good for a person who uses a white stick but it doesn't trip up people who use walking sticks.

"There are some really tricky issues [to confront] and it's never been done anywhere in the country as far as we're aware.

"We want demonstrate it can be done and produce a standard that other authorities can use - that is a real Paralympic legacy."

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