Disabled ramp row at pub
A RIFT has arisen between a pub landlord and parish councillors over plans to install a disabled ramp at the front of a village inn.Greene King has applied to Babergh District Council to carry out a refit at the Crown Inn at Acton, near Sudbury.
A RIFT has arisen between a pub landlord and parish councillors over plans to install a disabled ramp at the front of a village inn.
Greene King has applied to Babergh District Council to carry out a refit at the Crown Inn at Acton, near Sudbury.
Part of the plan includes installing a ramp and railings at the front entrance of the pub to improve access for the disabled.
Acton Parish Council has asked for the plans to be refused because it feels the ramp would ruin the appearance of the Grade II listed, 18th Century Inn.
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Pub landlord Brian Savage has now labelled the council's stance as "petty" and unfair on his disabled customers.
He said: "I just cannot understand the parish council's view over this. We are carrying out a major refit to improve our bar area and catering facilities. "Regulations require us to improve our disabled access and that is what we are trying to do.
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"If the plans go ahead there will be a new side entrance and the parish council say that is where the ramp should go. I think this is unfair, a disabled person has as much right as anyone to come through the front door of this pub.
"It can be difficult for a disabled person to get around so the last thing they want to do is have to search for an entrance when they get here. Many just want to be dropped off and be able to come straight through the front door.
"The ramp is just of a standard size and I just do not see how anyone can say it would ruin the appearance of the pub."
The parish council says although it supports the need to improve access for the disabled it says the proposed ramp should not be installed at the front of an important historic building.
Parish clerk Christine Johnson said: "The problem is the ramp is one of those with railings that you find at old people's homes, it looks hideous.
"We don't think it is right to just slap a ramp on the front of a listed building. It would totally change the look of the building and not for the better.
"The council makes it plain it is all for improving disabled access at the pub, but it has to be done more sympathetically."
Caroline Gooding of the Disability Rights Commission branded the parish council's views as 'old fashioned'.
She said: "Providing access for disabled people through the front door should always be the first option. If they are forced to use a separate entrance, like a side door, it is like being treated like a second class citizen. I think this council's views are very old fashioned in regards to the needs for the disabled.
"If it is done properly there is no reason why a ramp with railings can not be put at the front of an historic building. They found a way of doing it at Edinburgh Castle so I am sure it can be done at a village pub."
The matter is currently waiting to go before Babergh District Council's development committee.