Mum of wheelchair user hits out at spitters as ban faces delay

Linda Boland with her wheelchair bound son Aiden

Linda Boland with her wheelchair bound son Aiden - Credit: Archant

The mother of a wheelchair user has hit out at people spitting in the street, saying it could pose a health risk to him.

Linda Boland said she could not let her son Aiden, 21, wheel himself outside as he feared he could contract diseases from touching the wheels.

Mrs Boland, who lives in Cranley Road, Newbury Park, said: “It’s wrong to do it anyway, but I don’t think people have any consideration for wheelchair users.

“They can’t always avoid it. They have no choice but to go through it.

“It’s vile that people step on what comes out of their mouths – but imagine you’ve got it on your hands. You notice it on the pavements quite a lot round here. It really winds me up.”

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Redbridge Council is planning to introduce an official ban on the practice, with enforcement officers able to issue fines of up to £500 if they are caught.

The decision followed a public consultation which saw 94 per cent of respondents back the ban.

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Cllr Ross Hatfull, cabinet member for community safety and enforcement, said the effect on wheelchair users was one of the reasons the council wanted to bring in the ban.

He said: “It’s a disgusting and filthy habit. We are expecting to roll out the ban during the summer.”

He said there had been delays as the council explored the easiest way to introduce it.

A report will go before next month’s cabinet about writing to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government seeking approval for a by-law against spitting in Redbridge.

“There shouldn’t be any more delays,” said Cllr Hatfull. “We expect it to be employed quite rapidly.”

Once in place, the council hopes its new enforcement team – bringing together different departments and putting back-room staff out on the streets – will be able to crack down on anti-social behaviour such as spitting.

Cllr Hatfull said the proposals were expected to go before cabinet in the summer, with the new enforcement unit being put in place in September.

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