Idea for disabled access to council HQ on the table

Holbeach Parish Council is to discuss providing disabled access to its offices at Coubro Chambers, West End. 'Photo:  SG211013-119TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
Holbeach Parish Council is to discuss providing disabled access to its offices at Coubro Chambers, West End. 'Photo: SG211013-119TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

Holbeach Parish Council is to discuss improving access to its offices for the disabled at a meeting in the town next month.

The issue has become a priority after farcical scenes at September’s council meeting when a public forum had to be held on the ground floor of its offices at Coubro Chambers, West End, because of a disabled resident who wanted to speak about the future of Holbeach Library.

Plans for the meeting to be held at the Reading Rooms, Church Street, where disabled access is available, had to be abandoned because no one had keys to open the building.

This meant embarrassed councillors had to move the meeting to Coubro Chambers and hold the public forum in the reception area, instead of the first floor council chamber, so that the disabled resident could speak.

Now, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the farce, the council is to discuss creating access to the chamber at its meeting on November 11 although precise details of the work needed and its cost still have to be obtained.

A proposal for disabled access was put forward by Coun Peter Savory who told the Free Press: “The events of last month have brought to our attention the fact that we’ve got a problem with disabled access to the council’s 
offices.

“We’ve always had an agreement that if we know in advance that disabled residents are coming to our meetings, then we would hold it at another meeting place like the Reading Rooms.

“But now we need to look at doing something a bit better by getting a professional in to advise us on disabled access to the council offices.”

Coun Savory’s proposal was criticised however by another member, Coun Joan Woolard, who said: “I think it’s a totally ridiculous idea because there’s no room inside the chamber where we have our meetings.

“There’s hardly room now for anyone who’s interested in what’s going on, so they would never get anyone in who uses a wheelchair.”

Chairman of the council’s property committee, Coun Isobel Hutchinson, said: “It’s something the committee is aware of and we’re looking at various options on how to get around it.”