Row breaks out over dis­abled ac­cess at high school pitches

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

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.’

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