SOUTHEND Council could be taken to court unless it restores pedestrian crossings and curbs to its controversial “shared space” zones.

Veteran campaigner Jill Allen- King plans to take the authority to court within days as she claims the zones around Southend Victoria train station and City Beach, in which pedestrians and vehicles are meant to mingle freely, discriminate against the blind and elderly.

Ms Allen-King, who is secretary of the Southend branch of the National Federation for the Blind and the Southend Pensions’ Campaign, has threatened to take her fight all the way to the UN unless the council backs down.

Sheffield-based lawyers Unity Law gave the council until yesterday to commit to making the changes before legal action under the Equalities Act is launched.

The spirited 75-year-old, who is blind, said: “They have a duty to provide equal opportunities for disabled people and they aren’t doing that.

“They are not giving us the chance to use public facilities and the environment like everyone else can.

“They are stopping us coming out of the train station and crossing the road and using City Beach.

“They have taken away our rights.”

The council, which has already spent £241,000 installing four “courtesy crossings” at City Beach, has asked for any legal action to be put off until Wednesday, August 12.

It claims accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists have dropped since Victoria Circus was given a multi-million revamp in 2011.

It also pointed out that people can avoid the shared space by using an escalator outside the train station to enter the Victoria Shopping Centre and go through there to High Street.

But Ms Allen-King puts the reduction down to the blind and disabled avoiding the area since shared space was introduced.

Martin Terry, Southend councillor responsible for transport, said: “The safety of all of our residents is paramount to us and a key consideration when designing any highway project.

“Since the Victoria Gateway scheme was completed, pedestrian and cyclist accidents have reduced.

“The scheme was designed by experienced highways engineers and consultants, was safetyaudited and follows all relevant national guidance and regulations.

"We consulted a range of stakeholders, including disability groups and indeed, Jill Allen- King.

“The area referred to as ‘shared space’ is only part of the wider scheme and is differentiated by a different paving style, stone bollards and tactile paving.”