A borough man with impaired sight says walking around a Manchester city centre development has become a "nightmare".

Dave Steele, 48, from Prestwich, says he is worried about being hit using the new design on Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter.

Dave has retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye condition which involves the gradual degeneration of the retina.

He uses a cane and says his sight is straw-like in one eye and completely blind in the other.

He does not venture into the city centre often but wanted to see the new regeneration of Stevenson Square.

After walking around the area, alongside Stephen Tongue, director of fundraising at the sight loss charity, Henshaws, Dave says the development contains basic design flaws and questioned whether the defects would mean disabled people would be put off going there entirely.

Bury Times: Stevenson Square, ManchesterStevenson Square, Manchester (Image: Henshaws)

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During his visit Dave attempted to navigate a cycleway with no traffic lights or cones on the pad and it was said there was confusion over which traffic light corresponds to what road for the set that did exist, as well as traffic lights changing colour too quickly.

There were further problems with big seating slabs, which Dave says could be a "nightmare" for people with disabilities at night, and poles, which he says could also be missed if there is sunlight or it is dark.

Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) ordered the changes to Stevenson Square as part of a major revamp of the wider Northern Quarter area, but there are now questions over the work, which the council says was carried out from June to October last year.

Cllr Tracey Rawlins, executive member for environment and transport at Manchester City Council previously said: “It’s been a long-held ambition of ours to make Stevenson Square a more welcoming and accessible place.

“The steps that will be put in place over the coming months will help make this area a more vibrant and accessible part of Manchester.”

But Dave, who lives in Prestwich, described the redevelopment as a "nightmare" and "a mess", and said he feared for his life when using it.

He said: “When I am walking about in this area, I will be super sensitive to make sure I’m not in anyone’s way, but it’s going to be difficult. I will avoid the area totally, particularly if I’m on my own.”

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Bury Times: Stevenson Square, ManchesterStevenson Square, Manchester (Image: Henshaws)

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He added: “The council (Manchester City Council) does not consult people like me enough. They will have a guideline to make these things accessible, but it doesn’t fill the basic needs of someone with a disability.

“I don’t think they’ve put any thought into those with mobility issues. It’s disappointing as there are loads of great bars around here.”

Director of fundraising at Henshaws, Stephen Tongue, said: “The Stevenson Square development does make it more challenging for people with a visual impairment.

"That may mean people with a visual impairment opt not to go out.

“I would say to Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester or anyone looking to be more inclusive, come to us.

"We have visual impairment awareness training among other things which can really help when it comes to making your projects more accessible and friendly for those with a disability.”

A Campaign group Walk Ride GM spokesperson said: “The new infrastructure at Stevenson Square is incredibly disappointing and nothing like what we were promised.

"A lot of problems for users walking and cycling through the area, particularly for disabled people.”

In response, to Dave's experiences, a spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: "The council is committed to ensuring all public spaces are inclusive and are accessible to anyone who would wish to use them.

"During the development of the interim measures to Stevenson Square a range of consultation took place, with the council meeting with the Highways Access Group on multiple occasions to ensure that feedback on accessibility could be incorporated into the final design. 

"There has been a long-standing desire to incorporate more pedestrianised space in the city centre and through this programme the vast majority of Stevenson Square has been given over to pedestrians and cyclists, with just a single lane remaining open for public transport. 

"As with any major infrastructure works there will be a period where any identified issues with the final design and finish can be rectified before it is fully signed off.

"This process if currently under way and the council is grateful for the public's understanding during this final stage." 

A TfGM spokesperson explained that while it is responsible for operation and maintenance of the square, the design of the redevelopment has come from the council. 

They said the design was compliant with national guidelines and that with a rotating cone tactile device is available at the crossing to assist those with visual impairments. 

The spokesperson added: “As we deliver the Bee Network, we are committed to ensuring everyone using public transport or walking, wheeling or cycling can do so safely.

"While the crossing at Stevenson Square is fully compliant with the standards set by the Department for Transport, we’d encourage anyone with concerns about it to get in touch with us.”