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Blind woman to challenge size of kerbs in Lisburn, as she says they're too small for guide dogs

Published 22/05/2015

Joanna Toner says guide dogs may fail to recognise the difference in street levels
Joanna Toner says guide dogs may fail to recognise the difference in street levels

A blind woman has won High Court permission to challenge the height of new kerbing in parts of Lisburn city centre.

Joanna Toner was granted leave to seek a judicial review of the 30mm pavement edges created as part of a major revitalisation scheme.

Her lawyers claim it could pose safety risks as guide dogs may fail to recognise the difference in street levels.

Academic research recommending that kerbing should be at least 60mm in height was not properly considered, it was alleged.

Counsel for Mrs Toner, who is from Lisburn, argued that she had been discriminated against on disability grounds.

The multi-million pound public realm scheme is aimed at transforming the main city centre streets.

Work involved creating new paving and kerbs in and around Bow Street and the Market Square areas.

Mrs Toner's legal action is being continued against the new Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

Her barrister, Steven McQuitty, contended that she was not made aware of a consultation process around the street revamp.

Mr McQuitty also argued that the scheme breached both the Disability Discrimination Act and Mrs Toner's human rights.

Asked by Lord Justice Coghlin if he was alleging a failure to take into account information provided to the council, he replied: "Most significantly the academic research."

Lawyers for the local authority resisted the legal challenge being allowed to continue.

But the judge ruled that an arguable case had been established and granted leave on all grounds of challenge.

The case will now proceed to a full judicial review hearing in September.

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