Cobholm barrier in ‘wrong place’

THE chairman of a thriving community centre has spoken of her anger after she claims Norfolk County Council erected a safety barrier in the wrong place.

Doreen Johnson asked the county to install the barrier at the entrance of Cobholm Community Centre on St Luke’s Terrace to protect users from motorists mounting the kerb to drive down the narrow street.

But the 82-year-old was outraged when she discovered the barrier had been installed at the side of building without the centre’s committee being consulted first.

Now Mrs Johnson has demanded the barrier be taken down, as she believes it has the potential to do more harm than good. She said: “I have told the council that I wanted it taken down and that they should have never have gone up in the first place.

“What annoyed me was that nobody got back to us about the barrier and then suddenly it was put up without our permission.

“Initially I was told I could not have the barrier outside the entrance of the community centre because of the narrow road. They told me cars would not be able to get past.

“With that being the case I would have rather they had done nothing- it is such a waste money. I fear if something is not done about the cars then someone is going to get knocked down before long.”

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She said the biggest concern for the centre’s committee was when users, including the disabled and children, walked out of the main entrance as there was poor visibility of the traffic coming through.

The danger was highlighted by a health and safety official who visited the centre and users are now being encouraged to leave through the bar and back entrance.

The problem has been caused by the narrow width of the road where cars regularly park outside homes on the opposite side to the centre’s entrance, leaving little room for vehicles to get through.

On Wednesday and Friday afternoons, the centre is used by visually impaired groups who would be particularly vulnerable while walking in and out of the front door.

Carl Dawdry, highway engineer for the Great Yarmouth area at Norfolk County Council, said: “We’re sorry to hear the centre isn’t happy with the new barrier.

“Highways were keen to offer their support on this issue, and agreed to help out with the installation of a barrier outside the community centre.

“St Luke’s Terrace is such a narrow road that unfortunately it wasn’t possible to put up a barrier at the front of the centre as originally requested - to do so would have reduced the available footway width, making it very difficult to navigate for wheelchair and pushchair users.

“At a meeting with local councillors, along with a representative of the community centre who happened to be present, we proposed an alternative solution which was to erect a barrier at the side of the centre.

“ People could then be encouraged to use the side entrance to the building and it would serve to effectively shepherd those leaving the building, or congregating outside, away from the road.

“We believed this solution was agreed at the time but are sorry if this was misunderstood.”