"Very successful Artisan/Collectables MARKET on Saturday" says the Rochester City Centre Forum (apparently a joint effort of the council and the High Street traders) on their FB page.
To which I replied: "Very successful, except for those of us who are wheelchair users and find ourselves barred from the footpaths. What you can't see in that top picture is that it is the exit from the disabled car park and the pavement is blocked in both directions, as is the kerb-cut directly in front of that stall - to use the kerb cut safely a wheelchair user needs to start/finish at least as far back as the orange box visible in the picture. In fact it was significantly worse than that when I was in Rochester about 4PM on Saturday as the stall had boxes down the side that meant there wasn't even space to squeeze a narrow wheelchair like mine between the lamppost and stall, taking the unsafe approach down the side of the kerb-cut. For anyone in a wider chair or a powerchair, forget it. Remember, the space in front of the stalls is going to be occupied by customers, so there is even less space available. I ended up having to hop off the kerb, which nearly threw me out of my chair and didn't even try to use the entrance on my return, despite that being my normal route back to the car.
The steep camber of Rochester High Street makes it difficult to wheelie from road to pavement without risking tipping - I can't do it at all if I have the anti-tip protection deployed on my chair - and many people have chairs, powerchairs or scooters which are completely incapable of kerb-climbing. The reality of the choice of stalls which block the full width of the pavement is that they completely block wheelchair users from accessing the shops between them, or even safely exiting the disabled car park.
Rochester High Street is an obstacle course to wheelchair users at the best of times due to paving, camber, and cobbles, but these stalls leave it completely inaccessible. I raised the issue with the Council after their previous appearance, and was assured my concerns, particularly with respect to the kerb cut would be passed on, but this time things were even worse. To use the space in front of the disabled car park, blocking wheelchair users from exiting, really shows a careless contempt for the needs and rights of disabled people."
I had a reply within about an hour from the chair of the Forum. He did promise to do something about the kerb-cuts, but did not impress by first launching into a rant about cyclists on the pedestrianised High Street (why yes, I did know it's pedestrianised on Saturday, that's beside the point, the road doesn't help if I can't get from road to footpath) and then protesting "It's only 12 times a year," and "it's for the community". Do I not count as a member of the community?