Fears for safety of community centre users

IRRESPONSIBLE drivers are jeopardising the safety of Great Yarmouth community centre users, according to the centre’s chairman.

Doreen Johnson said motorists were driving along the pavement outside the front door of Cobholm Community Centre in St Luke’s Terrace, risking hitting one of the centre’s users, many of whom are elderly or disabled.

The danger was highlighted by a health and safety official visiting the centre during the last two weeks, and the centre’s committee has responded by closing the front door indefinitely, forcing visitors to use a side 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.

Mrs Johnson said while she could understand homeowners parking outside their properties, there was no justification in non-residents driving through as there were car parking spaces behind the centre.

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. And on Monday afternoons there is an over-60s group, some of whom experience mobility difficulties.

Concerns have been raised by a centre user about the lack of lighting around the side door, but Mrs Johnson said new light bulbs were going to be installed, making access easier.

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She added: “We go in and out of the side door at night time and we never have any problems. However, we do have problems with the front door and that is the main reason why it has to remain shut until we can stop cars coming down the pavement.”

One option she suggested was to erect a railing outside the front door. She said she had spoken to the borough council about it, but as yet no action has been taken.

l Doreen Johnson is pictured, left, with Oriel Elsom, the centre’s treasurer and secretary, on the narrow pavement outside the front door, which motorists are mounting.