Microsoft word - waverley disability forum minutes 15.10.09.doc
Waverley Disability Forum Minutes 15.10.09
Attendees Nick Pinches Jane Rawlings Sue Francis-Smith Joyce Budgen Suzan Lewis-Jones Garry Lockley Bob Parker Valerie Williams Jean Richards Ashley Morgan Patricia Hyde Eddie Coleman Mary Orton [Chief Executive] Louise Norie [Policy Officer] – Acting Chair Elizabeth Sims [Development Control Manager] Nick Laker [Senior Building Surveyor] Sharon Doyle [Housing Policy & Performance Officer] Sarah Hadland [Management Trainee] - Minutes
1. Introductions and apologies for absence
All attendees introduced themselves. Sharon Doyle [Housing Policy and Performance Officer] will take over the administration of the Forum for the year ahead.
Apologies were given by Alan Binfield [Chairman], Rachel Fox, Jeanette Arnold, Mrs Cole, Barbara Thorburn, Debbie Hustings & Mike Gunton. 2. You said, we did update Why doesn’t Waverley have more taxis able to take wheelchair users? There are no taxis in the Waverley area for powered wheelchair users. This has a significant impact on quality of life. It was suggested that the conversion of one taxi to be wheelchair-friendly could be subsidised. ACTION: LN to investigate.
A government consultation document on ‘Improving Access to Taxis’ was published in February 2009. The document can be accessed at the following link: http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/closed/consulttaxis/ It suggested making accessible taxis a legal requirement but the results of the consultation have not yet been published. Waverley Disability Forum Minutes 15.10.09
Mary Orton suggested that Paul Hughes [Licensing Manager] should come to the next meeting of the Forum to discuss taxi licensing and what Waverley can do about accessibility. This was agreed. Continue work to remodelling entrance into the Council Offices from Bridge Street. Nick Laker came to the meeting to propose a compromise, as the original works were identified as part of a possible budget saving at the Council’s Executive meeting on 29.09.2009. He suggested improving the existing entrance into the Borough Hall and allowing access through to the council offices. This would be achieved through a sensor on the automatic first door, then push buttons on further doors. The push buttons would be necessary to stop children running into the high street. It was agreed this was a reasonable compromise. Farnham Locality Office Audit Feedback Disabled Parking Bay Nick advised that the problem of cars parking too close to the disabled bay had been addressed through widening the bay and marking hatched areas on both sides. A member of the forum had been to the office since the change and found no problems. Public Access Internet Point The forum advised that this hasn’t yet been changed and is still fairly inaccessible. Nick explained that the layout of the locality offices is changing and the Internet point may be moved as part of the changes. ACTION: NL to check.
Interview Room ACTION: NL to check if room is still full of furniture, cabinets etc.
Fire exit at the back This may be made more accessible through the removal of the cash desk. Nick advised that this is only a secondary fire exit. Disabled toilet Waverley Disability Forum Minutes 15.10.09
Nick explained that the toilet size can’t be changed because it is next to the lift, but the toilet has been improved. A mirror and emergency alarm have been fitted. Louise explained to the Forum that the reception area of the Godalming offices may be redesigned. Jeanette Arnold [Locality Offices Manager] would be looking for volunteers to advise on disability issues relating to the reception area. Lion & Lamb - surfacing Lion and Lamb owners’ response was disappointing and suggested the council could pay for the works to improve their yard. The Forum pointed out that all they wanted was a paved area down the middle of the yard. It appears that the cobbles in the yard have been dug up and re-placed badly. It was also pointed out that the middle section of the yard is now flat instead of shaped like a drainpipe, which makes it almost impossible to walk down. ACTION: LN to write letter to Wolfe Property.
Disabled bay at Godalming Station constantly being used by non-disabled person When Louise spoke to the station master he took the matter very seriously and was prepared to jump on a train to go and deal with the matter himself. He explained that there is a towing system in place. If anyone sees a car illegally parked in the bay, they should ring South-West Trains on: 0845 6000 650 with details of the car. 3. Planning process in relation to disabled access and planning enforcement regarding advertising A frames.
Elizabeth Sims, Development Control Manager, came to speak to the Forum, particularly focusing on the relationship with historic buildings and adaptations and A-frames. She thanked the Forum for inviting her. Historic buildings
Elizabeth explained the difficulty with balancing historic value against physical access needs. Waverley only have enforcement powers when changes are being made to historic buildings which require planning permission; but owners of public buildings have responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). Unless it is a planning issue, the only way of enforcing the DDA is a court action.
Waverley Disability Forum Minutes 15.10.09
The Historic Buildings Officer will try to identify a solution wherever possible but often the steps to a building are an important aspect of its appearance. A member of the Forum raised the issue of access into historic buildings in Elstead, such as the vets surgery, who don’t even have a portable ramp. It was suggested that Waverley could write to the vets surgery on behalf of the forum. ACTION: LN to write letter
The Spar shop in Elstead has been written to by the Forum. The powers of Waverley’s Planning Enforcement Team are outlined in the Town and Country Planning Act. Policy D9 of the Council’s Local Plan: Development involving buildings or spaces to which the public have access as visitors, customers or employees should provide or improve accessibility for everyone, including people with disabilities and those with young children. In particular:- (a) there should be easy and prominent alternatives to steps to access the development and all external doorways should be wide enough for wheelchair access; hard and soft landscaping and surfacing should have regard to the needs of people with disabilities, including those with visual impairment. Please refer to this policy as it is an important ‘material’ consideration. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment have produced a guidance document called ‘Inclusion by Design’. It can be found at http://www.cabe.org.uk/publications/inclusion-by-design A-Frames
A-Frames require advertisement consent unless they are within the boundary of the property. In order to obtain consent, they have to meet certain standards covering:
1) What they look like 2) Whether they raise issues of public safety [this includes obstruction or
Signs on a private forecourt and within the size limit are legal, but if they trespass onto the public highway or obstruct the footpath then the Highways Agency can remove them or the council can, as a breach of planning control. The same rules apply for tables and chairs spilling out onto the pavement.
Waverley Disability Forum Minutes 15.10.09
If there are issues with A-frames obstructing public areas, ring Planning Enforcement on 01483 523114. A meeting will be set up with the local Chambers of Commerce to explain the problems with A-frames and other accessibility issues, as they are keen to hear the views of the Disability Forum. ACTION: LN to organise
The Council will be seeking a collaborative approach with the Chambers of Commerce to the issue of advertising. Can the forum be consulted on planning applications? Elizabeth asked for volunteers to go through the weekly list of planning applications [online or in person] and highlight any that may raise issues of accessibility/concern so that issues can be identified at an earlier stage. 4. Award Scheme for disabled-friendly businesses – feedback from subgroup.
A sub-group of the Forum met on 28.09.2009 to discuss setting up a local awards scheme for establishments which are accessible for disabled people. The scheme will start in Farnham and then be extended across the borough. The idea is to provide an incentive awards scheme and advice service to businesses, rather than to alienate anyone. Letters and surveys will be sent out to businesses so they can inform the council how disability-friendly they are. They can ask for an audit of their premises to be carried out by one of the forum to assess this and recommend small, relatively inexpensive improvements e.g a grab rail for a toilet. Businesses that participate in the scheme will be able to display the award sign, which will be visible from the street. The Group are hoping that the award will also be used on the new on-line Business Register that Waverley are launching soon. There will be another meeting of the focus group soon to discuss the scheme further; results will be fed back at the next full Forum meeting in January 2010. 5. AOB
Louise suggested agreeing and setting dates for next years’ meetings, which will take place in January, April, July and October. Meetings will be at 11am. The venue will rotate to ensure as many people as possible have a chance to Waverley Disability Forum Minutes 15.10.09
attend. The first meeting of the year will be in Farnham, the second in Haslemere. Sue Francis-Smith pointed out some accessibility issues with the pool in Cranleigh. Louise explained that the Leisure Centre is currently being refurbished and that accessibility considerations have been explored very thoroughly by the Leisure Services Team and an Equality Impact Assessment has been carried out. Nick explained that there will be a graduated access into the pool together with a number of other adjustments. Mary suggested that Sue could meet one of the Leisure team and view the plans for the proposed changes. The Council’s Communications Team will be publicising the Disability Awards Scheme and the problem with the A Frames in the December issue of Making Waves. Mary asked that anyone who hadn’t yet done so should return his or her electoral registration forms. Annual registration is necessary to be able to vote and it can also affect someone’s credit rating, because credit check companies use the electoral roll. You can opt to not have your address published. Useful links:
Town and Country Planning Act: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/Ukpga_19900008_en_1.htm The Local Plan: http://www.waverley.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=354 &pageNumber=1
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