I was quite alarmed last week to read that the town council of Beverley, one of my favourite market towns, was about to take up the “cobbles” in the main square on the grounds of access for the disabled. It’s a lovely town, identified as such by the great and the good including Sir Nicolaus Pevsner and Alec Clifton-Taylor.
A justifying letter followed in The Daily Telegraph, talking about how “prettification” should be secondary to meeting people’s needs. This annoyed me on two counts: first, people’s needs also include being able to enjoy our heritage and the beauty of historic townscapes (and in purely democratic terms, these needs outweigh those of the disabled), and secondly, by using the word “cobbles” they had deliberately given the impression of a very uneven surface. Actually the square is paved with setts, which are flat blocks, and, I believe, not too difficult to manoeuvre across with a wheelchair.
I wrote a letter to The Telegraph in reply, which was printed today, but edited so ruthlessly that the points I made seemed feeble. I can’t imagine many people read this blog, but at least I now feel that my views are expressed adequately.