Campaigners have criticised Havering Council for its "woeful" response to their calls for the removal of "discriminatory" barriers that they say stop disabled people from accessing vital public spaces.

Since April 2022, Better Streets for Havering and Havering Cyclists have urged the council to remove barriers that they say reduce mobility and inconvience people's lives, especially the disabled.

In a tweet on June 20, Better Streets criticised Andrew Blake Herbert, Havering Council's chief executive, for the "woeful" response to their joint proposal on the issue last year.

But a spokesperson for Havering Council said barriers were "necessary" to combat anti-social behaviour and encourage cyclists to slow down by dismounting and prevent collisions with pedestrians.

Mark Philpotts of Better Streets urged the council to act by removing what he deemed as outdated barriers not fit for purpose.

Mark said: “We are disappointed with the lack of action that we have seen.”

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Mark's group claimed if action was not taken soon, the council could be at risk of legal claims under the Equality Act 2010 for discrimination towards disabled people.

In a statement, Better Streets said: "Being denied access to public highways, parks and other public infrastructure is direct discrimination."

Havering Council said it had acknowledged the group's concerns and said it has made every effort to ensure public spaces are accessible to all users.

"It is necessary at some access points in our parks to introduce barriers to encourage cyclists to slow down," she said.

"The challenge for Havering is to ensure as far as possible people are safe and we reduce the risk of those who seek to cause anti-social behaviour."

Better Streets had previously claimed that council staff were not adequately trained to deal with matters of access and inclusion in public spaces.

But the council said all staff undertake mandatory equalities training and said barriers remain necessary to keeping people safe.

Mr Blake Herbert was approached for comment.