SENIOR officials at East Lothian Council have been challenged to navigate their way round Haddington town centre in a wheelchair.

Concerns about disabled spaces being used incorrectly, bins blocking footpaths and drop kerbs on Haddington High Street were all raised at the town’s community council meeting last Tuesday evening.

Pat Lemmon, member of the community council and manager of the town’s Oxfam store on High Street, said: “It would be a good challenge for somebody from East Lothian Council to go round Haddington in a wheelchair at 5pm on a Friday night.”

The issue was raised by Jim Graham, director of High Street shop Graham the Jewellers and member of the recently-formed Haddington Business Community Partnership (HBCP).

Mr Graham, who attended the meeting, told members: “We have got good friends who rely heavily on wheelchairs to get round the town. They are finding it very difficult to negotiate the pavements; drop down kerbs don’t meet up properly.

“They find we have got great pavements going up West Road but cannot look after our own town centre pavements.

“They rely on drop down kerbs for their own enjoyment of the town centre. We would like to be able to help them or find a way to help them.”

Various members of the community council shared their own experiences of the town centre and how it could be considered not disabled-friendly.

That included people without blue badges parking in disabled bays and, when challenged on it, members being verbally abused.

Mrs Lemmon added: “The other problem is quite a lot of the time during the day we have got cars parking across the street and nowhere for people to get across the road. Plus, at the narrow end of High Street, there are bins on the pavement and people find it tough to get past.”

Fiona-Frances Adam, community councillor, said: “They should be able to shop locally like anybody else without being curtailed by people parking in the wrong places or bins being out on the street.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council works with a range of groups, organisations and businesses to provide traffic management and travel options best suited for local community needs. Just this week a report detailing a number of new or amended traffic regulation orders was approved at cabinet and many of these resulted from community requests.

“The Blue Badge designated parking bays in Haddington High Street are regularly checked by parking attendants and any vehicle not displaying appropriate badge will receive a fixed penalty notice. If any individual or business has a particular concern about accessibility they can raise this with their councillor or directly to”