Disabled access- what’s your excuse?
Written by Angela May Published: 12 August 2019
There was a story circulating recently about a cake shop that had not realised it should make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate disabled customers until a disability rights campaigner happened to point it out to them. At the same time, I was checking a local pub’s website with a view to visiting as it has recently been renovated, only to note it clearly stated it had no disabled toilet facilities- something contrary to Building Regulations.
I imagine the pub had the same attitude as the cake shop: they did not realise.
But is ignorance an acceptable excuse?
The reasonable adjustment concept is part of the Equality Act 2010, and I believe was part of the Disability Discrimination Act before then. Building Regulations have for a decade or more stated that even if there is only space in a building for one WC, it should be a wheelchair-accessible unisex toilet.
It also begs the question whose responsibility is it to ensure accessibility? Yes, it is down to the business, but what about the planners, the building control officers?
No matter how much legislation is put in place, now and in the future, we are still reliant on the authorities that approve new buildings, refurbishments, to ensure that legislation is complied with, that at very least the basic accessibility requirements are met.