A BLIND campaigner is pleading with Southend Council to add “accessible” paving to a busy crossing where she fears “being run over if she steps out alone”. 

Jill Allen-King OBE has written to the council consistently for eight months calling for tactile paving to be adding to the pedestrian crossing at the junction of Eastwood Boulevard and Cavendish Gardens, in Westcliff. 

Tactile paving – which has a pattern of raised surfaces to warn people with sight loss of any dangers they may be approaching – was first recognised by the government in 1983.

The campaigner, who initiated the paving’s rollout in the UK, is “fed up with the council’s inaction” however highways councillor Kevin Buck insisted the council is on the case.

She said: “There’s nothing to stop me walking into the road and being run over. It’s really dangerous.” 

“It should have been done years ago. 

“All the other crossings from Victoria Avenue to Eastwood Boulevard, along Fairfax Drive, have got audible signals and tactile paving, making them safe for blind people.” 

The problem is more serious than ever for Mrs Allen-King, since her guide dog Jagger was retired last June.

 She added: “It’s especially difficult now I haven’t got a guide dog. I’ve got no indication of where to cross. It feels very dangerous. 

“Tactile paving has given blind and partially sighted people more freedom to move around safely.” 

When the council was approached by the Echo, Mr Buck said: “We understand the importance of accessible and safe road crossings for all our residents, and we are committed to ensuring that our infrastructure meets these needs. 

“Integrating tactile paving into existing infrastructure is a complex process, involving substantial traffic management, financial considerations, and potential disruption to daily life. Our approach is to carefully coordinate these improvements, ensuring they are part of a well-planned and financially viable scheme. 

“I want to reassure Jill Allen-King OBE that we are fully aware of the need to enhance the crossings on Eastwood Boulevard with tactile paving and we are actively looking to incorporate this upgrade into our highways budget within the next 12 months."