A VISUALLY impaired man has issued a plea to traders in Wotton under Edge not to clutter the town’s pavements with signage.

Ron Frost, 85, who lives in Kingswood, has glaucoma and is severely visually impaired.

He said: “I wish to appeal to the shop and business owners who advertise on boards using half of the narrow pavement.

“Normally I am guided around the advertising boards by my wife but there are times I have to walk up or down the street alone relying on nice strangers to see me safe.

“The sign boards are a positive danger as I don’t see them at all.

“And if I fall over, it takes a big man to pick me up.

“When you’re reasonably healthy and young, you probably don’t think of these things. But I’m afraid as you get older and and your body changes, many things you take for granted you can’t do any more.

“I’m not alone with this problem. An awful lot of elderly people, and parents with pushchairs, and people with wheeled walking aids are struggling with it too.

“I understand of course that the businesses want to advertise, but this could just as easily be done by boards being projected from their wall with say clearance of 8 or 9 feet under their board allowing a tall person with umbrella to pass underneath.”

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council’s highways team said: “We are aware of the issues surrounding advertising boards on the footways in Wotton under Edge, and have been working with a number of parties, including the town council, access groups, police and traders, to balance the needs of pedestrians with those of local businesses.

“Technically, all advertising material on the highway without express permission is illegal and there should be a width of at least 1.5 metres of pavement still accessible by pedestrians so they can easily and safely pass.”