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Blind Norwich OAP's roadworks anger

PUBLISHED: 20:15 28 February 2011

Blind pensioner Rodney Tooke with his guide dog Guiness <correct> at a bus stop in North Walsham Road. Roadworks have stopped bus services.
Photo: Andy Darnell

Blind pensioner Rodney Tooke with his guide dog Guiness at a bus stop in North Walsham Road. Roadworks have stopped bus services. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2011

A blind pensioner has revealed how he has become almost a prisoner in his own home after a major bus service was re-routed to avoid major roadworks.

Work to resurface the Chartwell Road/Constitution Hill roundabout started last week and is expected to take up to two weeks to complete.

Diversions have been put in place and motorists using the B1150 at Constitution Hill as well as the A1042 at Chartwell Road during this period, have been advised to follow the sign-posted diversions.

But Rodney Tooke, 66, who lives on Tills Close, off North Walsham Road, said the works have meant that First Buses has re-routed its number 18 service –effectively missing out about five stops on North Walsham Road, including the Edwards Road stop he normally uses.

Mr Tooke, who is registered blind and suffers from heart problems, said the re-routing of the bus has left him with too far to walk to access a useable bus stop.

There is a stop still being used by Sanders Coaches at Barker’s Lane, opposite Pioneer Road, but Mr Tooke said the problem is, because it comes from North Walsham, it is normally full.

He said: “In Tills Road there are lots of disabled people and very elderly people in their 70s and 80s; there are young mums with push-chairs and we’re virtual prisoners until this work is completed. It is a totally ridiculous situation.”

Mr Tooke, a father of five and grandfather of 10, said he had contacted First to see if they could try and accommodate the missing stops on North Walsham Road, but to no avail.

The former shorthand typist and telephonist said: “It was a very couldn’t-care-less attitude. People round here have been completely denuded of a bus service.”

A spokesman for First said: “Due to resurfacing work, Chartwell roundabout has been closed until Sunday, March 6. This road closure will affect services 10 and 18. We apologise for the inconvenience this diversion will cause our customers, it is unfortunate that our services will be affected by this, but road closures are out of our control.”

A city council spokesman said: “We appreciate this is causing inconvenience and we would like to thank everyone who uses this road for being patient while we work to keep it safe for everyone to drive on.”

Have you been affected by the roadworks? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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