‘Grave concerns’ with safety of disabled parking bays on seafront

The council was asked whether it was failing to meet its equalities duty because “unsafe” parking bays leave much of the seafront inaccessible to wheelchair users.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 4:34 pm
Footage showing the proximity of the disabled bays to the cycle lane
Footage showing the proximity of the disabled bays to the cycle lane

When the new temporary seafront cycle lane was created last summer, disability campaigners from Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere (BADGE) were ‘horrified’ to see disabled parking bays by the Peace Statue were off-set away from the pavement, with the cycle lane between cars and the kerb.

BADGE campaigner Pippa Hodge told members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee that video surveillance of the seven bays on the A259 showed a wheelchair user forced to travel into the cycle lane to reach their vehicle, swerving bikes.

She said that five safer bays were promised on the north side of the road in March but since then nothing had happened.

She said: “Under your Active Travel Scheme ‘our’ seafront remains inaccessible for a second summer.

“Do councillors find it acceptable that ten months later officers still haven’t addressed these grave concerns?”

She queried whether the council was in breach of its own equalities impact assessment to protect disabled access and safety.

Risks were identified ten months ago, she told the committee, and councillors had not acted on BADGE’s feedback.

Green councillor Amy Heley who chairs the committee, said that there was no change to the number of disabled bays as a result of the new cycle lane.

She said that some of the disabled bays were off-set from the kerb with extra space on either side for safety reasons.

Councillor Heley said: “We do recognise that while this does recognise the design standard, people do still need to take care when near vehicles or when passengers exit vehicles due to the location.

“We do recognise why it is still dangerous for some users. We are currently investigating additional parking bays along the seafront to further improve access.”

Residents and businesses in the area would need to be consulted before any extra bays were added, which Councillor Heley said would take time.