Weston sites 'fully accessible'

PUBLISHED: 13:30 29 August 2014




A NATIONAL survey saying disabled access at British tourist venues 'must improve' has been challenged by the people behind Weston's most popular attractions.

The survey, by charity Vitalise, looked at Britain’s 100 most visited attractions and found that 63 per cent of venues were not fully wheelchair accessible, while many failed to train staff in disability awareness.

The Government Equality Act 2010 states there is a duty for venues ‘to make reasonable adjustments’. If a feature puts a disabled person at a ‘substantial disadvantage’ companies should make efforts to either remove it, alter it, or provide an alternative route for disabled people to avoid it.

The survey also found that 44 per cent of venues offered ‘no discount’ for disabled people.

But Alistair Mead, managing director of Puxton Park - located just outside of Weston along the A370 - said he is ‘disappointed’ at the findings and says the attraction takes accessibility ‘very seriously’.

Mr Mead said: “It is very disappointing to see the survey’s results and learn that other British tourism venues are failing to meet the necessary standards.

“We offer a discount for blue badge holders, offer fully accessible approaches to all areas of the park with additional ramps into our dairy; we have wheelchair height activity learning boards, disabled car parking, lifts for upper level access and disabled friendly toilets.”

Weston’s Grand Pier has also demonstrated its commitment to being a fully accessible venue.

Its spokesman said: “As we are a relatively new build we are completely accessible in all areas, including the land trains.

“All our function rooms and floors are equipped for wheelchairs, we have a hearing loop and all staff are trained to assist all visitors.

“We offer chaperoned tours of the building for visitors 
who require special assistance.”

The manager of Weston’s SeaQuarium, David McCubbin, has also disputed the national findings.

He said: “The aquarium, Driftwood Café and SeaQuarium gift shop can be accessed fully by wheelchair users and help will be willingly given to reach goods on higher shelves in all outlets.

“Discounted admission is offered to disabled visitors and for those requiring a one-to-one carer we offer free admission for the carer.”

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