We all had to step up our game in 2005 and make sure our buildings, shops, schools and business premises were easy to access by disabled people. It was as a result of the Disability Discrimination Act which came into force and should have made life a little easier for disabled people.
Did it work? Well, Wrexham was recently visited by Disability Rights Campaigner, Damian Plant, from Llandudno who then got in touch with the Mayor, Cllr John Pritchard, with his findings and it seems we’re doing OK.
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“Geared up for wheelchair access”
One of the places Damian tried to gain access to was Wetherspoon’s on the High Street. At first glimpse it looked as if the steps leading into the bar would be a problem for wheelchair access. A further visit with the Mayor showed that bar was very much geared up for wheelchair access with a portable ramp and a bell to ask for assistance. Staff even pointed out that they had an online app and a table service could be made available to prevent queuing at the bar.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We want our pubs to be open and accessible to everyone. We are proud of the fact that our pubs offer excellent facilities for people with disabilities and that they are easy to enter for wheelchair users.”
“Staff awareness raised”
Lifts can also sometimes pose problems for disabled users and in Eagle’s Meadow some boxes were blocking access. A quick call to Eagle’s Meadow manager, Kevin Critchley, also paid rewards and staff were more than happy to make sure the boxes were moved and staff awareness raised.
The Mayor, Cllr John Pritchard, said: “It’s good to know that in Wrexham we’re certainly on the right tracks to making life easier for our town centre disabled visitors. It’s not perfect and the recent visit with Damian showed just how easily things can be resolved and access made easier. We’ll never be 100% compliant due to the nature of listed building legislation but we can try to overcome obstacles whenever they are pointed out to us.”
“Things are improving”
Damian, commented after his visit: “It was good to see how things are improving for disabled people and Wrexham has done very well. There are however still many places that for some disabled people, access is impossible or difficult and I will continue my work throughout the region to raise awareness of the problems we face on a daily basis. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Mayor for the time he took to meet with me and also for his genuine concern about the difficulties faced by disabled people every day. Thanks also to all the staff who helped make this visit possible.”
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