Row breaks out over disabled access at high school pitches
OBAN and District Disability Forum and Access Panel (the forum) is considering a legal challenge to the local authority’s current plans for Oban High School, claiming there is a lack of disabled access.
Calling proposals for steps onto the games field ‘discriminatory, unacceptable and a breach of an agreed protocol with the council’, the group said this entrance to the school’s pitch, known as Glen Two, must be reconsidered.
The minutes of the group’s meeting shows that it has been raising concerns about the flight of steps between a path and the playing field since May 2016. They claim it makes the pitch inaccessible to disabled people.
It was noted that this matter had been raised separately at a community council meeting and also at a local area committee when it was reported that the forum was pursuing the problem.
The forum heard the high school architect felt steps, as opposed to a ramp, could be justified in terms of alternative access arrangements in place.
After lengthy discussion, the forum agreed that the absence of an acceptable, accessible link to the playing field was discriminatory, unacceptable, and ‘ a breach of our agreed protocol with the council’.
The forum has now agreed to meet the Oban High School architect and will ‘ press for improvements in the strongest terms’.
Asked for the council’s position on accessibility to the playing fields, an Argyll and Bute Council spokeswoman said: ‘ The needs of people with mobility issues was fully considered [in the building of the new high school].
‘The distance from the school to the pitch along the path behind Dalintart is nearly 500 metres.
‘That was not considered [ by the forum] to be a reasonable distance for people with mobility issues to be expected to walk, even if rest places were provided at regular intervals along the route.
‘There is an accessible access to the playing fields from the north side. This was considered to be a better solution, allowing an appropriate and level access for both vehicles and pedestrians.
‘The new Oban High School project has involved works only to improve a section of this path from the new school to a point just short of the playing field.
‘The rest of the core path remains in its original condition as this section does not fall within the scope of the new school project.’