Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 12:38 UK

Lingfield potholes force charity wheelchair ban

Wheelchair on potholed road
The charity said the edges of the lane had become increasingly worse

An epilepsy charity has banned students from using wheelchairs on its access road because potholes are forcing them into the middle of the road.

The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy has a college and school in St Piers Lane, Lingfield, Surrey.

It said it campaigned for disabled people to be independent and had not taken the decision lightly but feared people could be injured.

Surrey County Council said it had limited funds but was trying its best.

Phil Ricketts, the charity's head of facilities, said St Piers Lane was a lifeline to the centre, which offers residential and day services.

'Drivers swerving'

He said he began talks with Surrey County Council about repairs more than a year ago.

He said: "The edges of the lane have got increasingly worse so that it's now simply impossible to take a wheelchair down it without venturing into the middle of the road and putting lives at risk.

We estimate at least £200m is required in Surrey
Surrey County Council

"The potholes in the middle of the road were recently emergency patched but very poorly so that drivers still swerve to avoid them."

David Ford, the charity's chief executive, said: "At night time and in bad weather, the chances of someone dying or being seriously injured are increased dramatically."

Nearly 200 young people with learning and other disabilities are based on the site, along with 800 staff.

The wheelchair ban on St Piers Lane affects up to 40 students.

A council spokesman said: "Between mid-January and the end of April the council did 16,000 repairs including potholes on 3,000-plus miles of roads that carry twice the national average traffic flow.

"Only serious long-term national investment can upgrade them to a point where we don't have to keep spending millions of pounds repairing potholes each year.

"We estimate at least £200m is required in Surrey."

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