WLBC doesn’t know what the needs of disabled wheelchair and scooter users are.
In a scandalous dereliction of duty WLBC has installed a new gate at the pedestrian entrance to the Skelmersdale underpass from Thornbury linking through to the Mill Lane path and Tawd Valley Park that is unfortunately too narrow to allow some scooter and wheelchair access for residents using the underpass to visit Asda or the Concourse.
You’d think somebody is employed in WLBC to know what the legal necessities of disabled people are. The Government is committed to comprehensive civil rights for disabled people. A barrier-free pedestrian environment is fundamentally important to delivering that commitment. Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) gives disabled people a right of access to goods, facilities, services and premises. These rights were being phased in over the period 1996 to 2004. Since 1996, it has been unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably than other people for a reason related to their disability.
So Rosie Cooper has raised residents’ concerns with West Lancashire Borough Council about the restriction. She commented “Gates and barriers blocking underpass and pavement access to motorcyclists are welcome, but not at the expense of residents who are wheelchair users or rely on mobility scooters being left unable to access basic amenities such as going to the shops, bank, post office or health centre.
“I have contacted West Lancashire Borough Council seeking an urgent solution, which could be to widen the access or provide wheelchair users with key access to a wider opening of the gate.
“I would also expect that the council consider the width of gates such as these across all public footpaths to ensure the town is accessible to all residents including those with mobility issues and parents with wide prams or buggies”.
24 years of the legal rights of disabled people to have access, now undone by WLBC in 2020. You couldn’t make it up!