Blind Norwich family's road closure woes

Sam EmanuelA blind family say they have been stranded at home because a road closure, bus diversions and recent icy pavements meant they could not navigate their way to the different bus stops they would need to use.Sam Emanuel

A blind family say they have been stranded at home because a road closure, bus diversions and recent icy pavements meant they could not navigate their way to the different bus stops they would need to use.

Bernie Reddington, 41, who cannot see at all, says the closure of North Walsham Road, which is expected to last just over a week, has proved a nightmare for herself and her family, three of whom are blind.

The road is closed for resurfacing work between the B1150 junction with George Hill and School Lane, and a point about 40m north of North Walsham Road's junction with Allen's Lane.

Mrs Reddington, who lives with her blind husband Marcus, 49, her blind children Chris, 16, and Abbie-Rose, 12, and her sighted daughter Katie, 13, said: 'We are completely cut off from the world at the moment, because North Walsham Road is shut and so all the buses are on diversions which mean we have to walk miles…to find a bus to the city.


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'In places I don't know well I haven't got a chance of finding a bus stop, as it took me months to develop the knowledge of the routes I already use.'

Mrs Reddington is also concerned that the closure and diversions could affect elderly people living nearby.

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She said: 'Many older people are just as reliant on the buses on this route and can't walk the distances involved to get buses from other places where the buses have been diverted to. We are all trapped indoors.'

Norfolk County Council apologised for the inconvenience caused with the essential works, and David Harwood, cabinet member for adult social services, said he would encourage members of the public to look out for their vulnerable and elderly neighbours and relatives.

He added: 'I'd like to thank the many volunteers who have also helped to support Norfolk's vulnerable older people during the cold and icy weather, including those who've kept the county's meals on wheels services operating under very difficult circumstances.'

First East England bus service declined to comment.

Have you organised a scheme to help people in your community? Call reporter Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email sam.emanuel@archant.co.uk.

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