Access group re-forms after steps ramp up the outrage

The former pedestrian ramp at Lace Hill has been turfed over
The former pedestrian ramp at Lace Hill has been turfed over

A town’s disability action group is being relaunched, following public outrage over a pedestran ramp being replaced by steps.

Readers wrote in to express their anger after we reported on the plight of 91-year-old Jim Jones who lives on Buckingham’s new Lace Hill estate.

For the past two years, Mr Jones, who uses a walking frame, has used a temporary ramped pathway that led out of the estate on to the London Road, in order to cross to Tesco to buy his daily paper.

But last month developers Barratt Homes replaced the slope with a permanent pathway which has steps.

They then welded shut the gate at the top of the ramped path – putting a stop to Mr Jones’ independence.

And since our last report, they have turfed and planted over the old ramped path.

We quoted a Barratt Homes spokesman saying the handrail on the new steps is Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant.

But Mr Jones’s son, Ian said: “It is it DDA compliant to build an access inaccessible to wheelchairs, walking frames etc?”

Buckingham Access for All spokesman Christine Strain-Clark, who herself uses a wheelchair, called it “a travesty” and said she hoped the developers would “come to their senses and find some way of restoring an access that can be used by everyone”.

Buckingham Access For All looks out for access problems in the town and works to find solutions. In the light of public concern, the group is being relaunched, with an open meeting taking place at 10am on Tuesday, in the newly reopened Well Street Centre.

All are welcome.