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Hedon Town Hall considers installation of bespoke stairlift

24th February 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Hedon Town Council is considering applying for grants in order to provide money for the installation of a bespoke stairlift in the town hall. This would provide access for people with disabilities wishing to take part in council meetings in the historic council chamber on the upper level. Currently, those with mobility issues or people reliant on wheelchairs are unable to access this floor of the building.

The building is grade II listed, so will need a specially-made stairlift to be created, in order to avoid damaging the ancient town hall or affixing it to the walls. For this reason, the suggestion of the stairlift in the town hall has divided opinions, as a number of the councillors are worried about the appearance of the building being affected.

Preserve the appearance or improve accessibility?

It seems that the best method to avoid this happening would be to have the stairlift built into the floor of the building, with a concrete base and external supporting arms. This way, the frame would mean that the banister and staircase remain in their current condition. However, this has worried certain councillors, who worry that this may become a feature of the building, detracting from the antique appearance.

The cost is expected to be in the region of £50,000 due to the special requirements, and it has been suggested that those unable to access upper floors should instead partake using the internet and online programs such as Skype. It has also been suggested that the council meets in an alternative venue, so that everyone is able to attend without installing a stairlift that would potentially alter the historical building.

The council will now need to decide which it feels are the top priorities for the town hall, choosing between accessibility and preserving history. Local people have been encouraged to give their own opinions on the Hedon blog in the comments section.

Image Credit: Jacobo Tarrio (Flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.