Celebrating 40 years, looking back

Looking back at the Meeting Minutes, Events, Campaigns and Photos

A timeline of the Access Group

It has been interesting looking back at the early minutes of meetings – many of the issues are still being talked about today …

25 March 1981 ‘Access for the Disabled Project’ meeting was at Linden Court.

First chairman was Bunny Shaw. Mary Kenward was secretary. Dr Walter Wigfield, Jean and Bob Arnold, George Williams and Bob Mundy founding members.

Council said they could not afford £10,000 to convert the toilets in the station into a unisex toilet. The work was funded by the Downland Round table instead.

Arndale Centre (now Beacon) group received a letter of complaint about the high cost of long stay parking. A notice should be placed outside the entrance barrier warning patrons of low headroom in the car park. To use the slip road in the Ashford Road entrance to the Centre for disembarking disabled passengers. To ask British Rail to mark off 2 bays in their car park for minibuses and ambulances…

Minutes of meeting 2 September 1981

The problem of parking for the disabled is being investigated by the Highways and Transportation committee of the Borough Council….

Minutes of meeting 15 March 1982

Beach buggy – The Head master of Ratton School had shown great interest in the production of this buggy and was hoping to get the appropriate master involved with his form to produce this for us.  It is proposed that this will have certain improvements such as larger front wheels …

In Hampden Park we hope to develop a chairway to encourage chairfast and blind people to explore the wooded area… The chairway happened!

Access to the whole of the Devonshire Park complex, and an opportunity for people in wheelchairs to watch the tennis is also being studied…

Minutes of meeting 17 May 1982.

Pavements awaiting repair- no action has been taken here…

Minutes of meeting 26 January 1987

The special toilet built with funds from the Downland Round Table has been demolished by British Rail… The newly built BR disabled toilet still does not have a Radar lock.  The change was requested by Dr Wigfield.

Minutes of meeting 30 March 1987

Access to pubs – scheme set up by the Brewer’s society was now running and pubs wishing to display the ‘Disabled facilities’ sign would contact their local access group for an inspection visit, for which they would pay £20.00… No applications had yet been received.

Minutes of meeting 12 November 1996

Access to the town hall a new scheme has been agreed with English Heritage and Eastbourne Civic Society, using the old Magistrate’s entrance…. Access to the first floor will continue to be by the inadequate lift for the time being… (still the same in 2021!)

 

 

 

Minutes of meeting 28 January 1997

Chairman Paul Burfield –  it is clear that very little thought has been given to making public transport wheelchair friendly. Paul is concerned about the impact of driver only trains…

Minutes of meeting 8 April 1997

Disability awareness in schools- given to junior schools in Eastbourne. The children at Shinewater school had completed projects…

Hospital access audit- DGH was surveyed.

Minutes of meeting 12 May 1998

Report on experience of the cycle track- asked if all complaints about shared use could be channelled to the Access Group.

It was suggested that a suitable university might consider doing postgrad research on how shared use was working out country wide.

Minutes of meeting 24 Nov 1998

The new accessible toilet at Fishermen’s Green is now built but not yet fitted out.

Minutes of meeting 23 March 1999

A new accessible toilet at the Redoubt will be started shortly.  Gaynor Sadlo will visit the Fisherman’s Green toilet.

Minutes of meeting 31 August 1999

Cycle tracks- Ann Hancox has spoken to Gaynor Sadlo who has students working on the cycle track research project. Walter will send her the JCMBPS policy statement and a reference to Local traffic LTN/2/86 on shared facilities…

Walter has been in correspondence with East Sussex County Council about the extension of the 2 way cycle way from Seaside to the Sovereign Centre.  After discussion, the plans which provide for a separate 2.5 metre cycle track and 0.5 metre wall dividing it from the footpath were approved.  A light controlled crossing will be provided across Princes Road which is very busy during the summer. Walter has offered to monitor complaints arising from this new stretch of track…

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Here are some highlights over the last 15 years …

Minutes of Meeting 24 May 2006

The Hippodrome is due to be refurbished with wheelchair toilet and spaces at the side.

There was a long discussion about accessibility to the first and second floors of the Town Hall.  There is a lift but this is too small and footrests of wheelchairs have to be taken off to get into it.

Minutes of Meeting 15 December 2006

Ian Westgate become chair of the Access Group. The Future of the Group –  After discussion, it was agreed that we should be:

  1. A Pressure Group, raising awareness of the needs of disabled people for access to places and spaces, and actively campaigning for barriers to be removed.
  2. An Information Service for disabled people, facilitating access to relevant information, and
  3. Fund Raising, to enable the Group to carry out this work.

… It was agreed that a team consisting of Ian, Mary and Nigel should give advice to the Council regarding layout and colour changes to be made on their website and at 1 Grove Road public office.

The Disability Involvement Group (DIG) was formed in February 2007 and is an involvement group for Eastbourne Borough Council. However more recently the DIG has become involved in wider ranging issues. Volunteers from the Access Group have always been active members of DIG.

Minutes of Meeting 27 April 2007

Shop and business owners in Eastbourne are being more sensible now with their ‘A’ boards not blocking pavements and this was probably due to Pete (Access Officer) and Nigel Whiteley going round asking the owners to move boards closer to their buildings.

Minutes of Meeting 13 July 2007

There will be a display for the new Town Regeneration scheme 2010 in the Arndale, on each weekend until the end of July.  And the plans do not give details such as Shared Surfaces…

We must make sure the ESCC Council understand the needs of disabled within the new Parking Scheme, which will be operated by NCP who will have full control of the system… (the Group and individual volunteers fed back about the scheme also as part of Disability Involvement Group (DIG) … this has continued over the coming years as the parking scheme was reviewed and parking metres and yellow lines increased. The fighting for blue badge spaces too.) …

There were lots of media cover, public debate regarding the introduction of parking charges in the town centre in October 2008. ESCC council being Conservative run and Eastbourne Council Lib Dem!

April 2008 Scootability Event organised by DIG to demonstrate safe use of mobility scooters/wheelchairs, will include the main dealerships, police, etc. The Access Group had a stand.

June 2008 The group produced a logo.

October 2008 Chairman’s Report  … as people like coming to Eastbourne for days out and holidays we should try to make the town more disabled friendly.

Minutes of Meeting 13 March 2009

Redoubt Fortress – Fran, Manager looking to fund their own Stair Climber from other sources, the footfall was up last year and stair climber was well used. Chair, Ian trying out a wheelchair stair climber that was lent to the Redoubt by Southern Mobility.

( Ian attended many meetings over the coming years with The friends of the Fortress Action Group as they explored access into the fort).

April 2009 The group’s and East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre ongoing ambition to have Stage Text and audio description for theatre performances was explored over many months.

December 2009

Successful campaign to increase the length of Blue Badge parking bay outside NCP parking office in Gildredge Road for anyone unloading a wheelchair from rear of a vehicle. Cllr Herne and Cllr Goodwin, Disability Champion supported the campaign.

ESCC also agreed to increase the width of some of the Blue Badge bays on seafront so vehicle doors could be open fully to improve better access.

Minutes of Meeting 29 May 2009

… a pair of dropped kerbs costs between £800/1500 each. 

Dropped kerbs has been an ongoing campaign for the Access Group. Making sure main routes around the town have dropped kerbs. Stopping people parking over them. Obstacles like BT phone boxes, street furniture are not put near them. Wheelchair/mobility scooter users and parents/carers with prams and pushchairs can have clear vision to the right when crossing the road from a dropped kerb.

July 2009 Community Toilets. A new Community Toilet Scheme pilot has started in Richmond, Surrey, where shops will allow the general public to use their facilities at any time, not just when shopping… (Eastbourne Design for All who became Inclusive Eastbourne took on a similar local project, Eastbourne Community Toilets Scheme launched March 2015. The Access group has helped with providing admin for this website.

July 2009 … met with the Tourist Information Centre as not enough access information is readily available for the general public.

Minutes of Meeting 18 June 2010

Langney Shopping Centre. Developers have agreed to include a Changing Places Toilet, possible near to library. Nearest Changing Places toilet is in Brighton, and must push to include in Town Centre plan…

(This did not happen … Very disappointed the LSC toilets were not updated with their 2018/19 extension … even with 2 years of more talks there is no progress.) … Good news – Both The Beacon (Arndale) and Seafront, Bandstand now have Changing Places toilet facilities.

Minutes of Meeting 3 September 2010

The ESCC (highways) are planning a new Cycle Way in Eastbourne, first part will be from Stafford Junior school along Horsey sewer to Lottbridge Drove, then onto Sovereign Harbour and finally from the school to the Railway Station.

December 2010 Peter Valentine Eastbourne Council’s Access Officer who produced the wheelchair routes maps of the town for the Access Guide added the Old Town map.

May 2011 Paul Quanstrom Building Control took over the Access Officer role from Pete Valentine. Cllr Janet Coles became Disability Champion for Eastbourne Councillors and attended the Access Group and DIG meetings.

Minutes of Meeting 6 May 2011

Disability Awareness – Marcus of the Eastbourne Hospitality Association has invited Ian to their next meeting on 18 May. The Group produced a presentation and leaflet.

15 September 2011 Eastbourne Disability Roadshow organised by Disability Involvement Group (DIG). Access Group had a stand and showed a mobility scooter safety presentation.

Minutes of Meeting 30 January 2012

… There are no dropped kerbs in Faversham Road to access the new Cranbrook development in Langney.

March 2012 Eastbourne Access Guide being presented to Tourist Information Service by Dr Walter Wigfield who developed the new A5 pocket size guide with MP Stephen Lloyd and Chair Ian Westgate.

Minutes of Meeting 30 July 2012

Display at Langney Shopping Centre was a success. A free display at the Arndale is possible with Shopmobility at Shades restaurant, and a display is possible at ASDA. 

Regular monthly stands with Shopmobility would become a fixture in our calendar March to October, We also did several stands with Age Concern at Langney Shopping Centre over the years with their Development Worker.

 

 

2012 The ‘Let’s Loop Eastbourne’ Campaign was launched in 2012 by Hearing Link to transform Eastbourne into a beacon of good hearing loop practice and the UK’s most loop-friendly town.

 

 

 

 

 

9 August 2013  …attended an ESCC meeting regarding the new cycle network.   This pathway is for use by cyclist, pedestrian’s and disabled to access safety across town without using the roadways.  The last meeting was in 2010, and this is an update on the works.  Phase 2; Ringwood Road to Lottbridge Drove is nearly completed and this meeting is for Phase 3; Lottbridge Drove to Langney R/about, plans have been drawn up (available to see) after resolving difficult land & waterway problems and will take a few years to complete.

October 2013 International Hearing Loop Conference held at The Congress Theatre. The Access Group supported the event specially Dr Walter Wigfield who was also a volunteer with Hearing Link and promoted hearing loops locally to businesses, churches, banks, etc

The Devonshire Park theatre put in a new state-of-the-art hearing loop and held a successful musical show and information evening for hearing aid users to promote the new loop system to theatre goers and those who may not have attended before.

2014 We moved to St Saviours Church Hall in South Street for our monthly meetings.

25 March 2014 Shared Space Town Centre, Eastbourne Blind Society, Guide Dogs for the Blind, RNIB want a controlled crossing in the new scheme. They have looked at lots of shared spaces all over the world none have as much traffic as Eastbourne and on such a busy road junction.

July 2014 Three Councillors took up the challenge to join members of the Access Group for a mobility scooter ride around town to give them a first-hand experience of the daily challenges mobility vehicle users have travelling on Eastbourne’s pavements. With thanks to Eastbourne Shopmobility for the loan of their mobility scooters.

Cllr Tutt said afterwards “The day made me aware of how difficult it can be to get around town when you use a mobility scooter, not only navigating challenging roads and pavements but also attempting to shop”.

Cllr Hearn added “It certainly opened my eyes to the many problems experienced by scooter users. Crossing roads where there were parked vehicles blocking our line of sight presented a major hazard, while uneven and undulating pavements also made life extremely difficult. In many parts of Eastbourne there are insufficient dropped kerbs and we must focus on working with the various agencies to address this.”

Eastbourne Mayor Janet Coles said the morning was ‘an enlightening experience’ for her.

Dropped Kerbs some local new funding by planning development applications, Clause 106; there should always be some money available as this is to benefits the areas where development occurs. Cllr Shuttleworth & Cllr Ungar initiated search for funding.

 

Local Councillors came to the Access Group’s July meeting

 

 

 

 

 

Long awaited Faversham Road, Langney new dropped kerbs.

 

The group started writing a monthly Disability Today article in The Herald started Oct 14

March 2015 launched our Eastbourne Guide for Disabled People with a new front cover design with a publicity postcard.

October 2014 The Group starting writing a monthly Disability Today article in The Herald.

January 2015 Met Hospitality Assoc. Chair Darren Weir, Liz Attwell, EBC Accommodation Manager and Annie Wills, TIC Manager to focus on hotel’s self assessment accessibility part of Visit Eastbourne website. How can the group work with them to encourage hotels/guest houses to complete these? 

March 2015 – Joint Access Officers Meeting Reps from Eastbourne, Lewes, Peacehaven, Seaford, Wealden and Rother Purpose of meeting – Learn what is happening with access in other areas of the county, see what are the successes, frustrations, etc. Are we all ‘singing from the same song sheet’? Individual groups can be great on their own but greater together – need to work together.

28 October 2015 Devonshire Park Development Plans … It’s important that EDIG and Access Group keep pushing and questioning the access/disability side as the scheme develops. … been in discussion re better access, compromise agreed larger drop-off area nearest to Congress Theatre. New facilities will include Welcome Building which will be at auditorium level, more accessible toilets on each floor of Congress, 2 lifts. Ongoing discussion with DIG will follow by Architect and project team as project develops. There will be a Highways transport plan/consultation for buses, parking, drop off areas, etc for that area to go with plans. It will be done in stages with completion in 2019…

The Group and individual volunteers responded to Adult Social Care cut proposals – survey (grave concerns from Blind Society and Hearing Resource). Parking Review. Seafront Local Plan. 

24 February 2016 – Volunteers had a Dementia Friends Session. The Access Group’s action pledge is to promote the sessions via our website and Facebook page. Members please will tell your group(s) members, colleagues, friends and families about this free awareness training so Eastbourne becomes a dementia-friendly town.

24 March 2016 – Bus travel ruling regarding wheelchair space on buses. A challenge was made and the Judge ruled a child’s buggy does not have to move if a wheelchair user wants to get on. This will leave wheelchair users waiting for the available space. Weakens of Equality Act, Hate crimes could increase. Notices are on local buses that this space is for wheelchair.

April 2016 – Great news! 1st in Eastbourne – Changing Places Toilet facility opens in Arndale centre.

May 2016 Arndale Centre extension plans – A presentation was given to DIG group, they will be consulted at different stages of the development, will feed back to Access group. …suggestion there should be a disability awareness event/evening with a demo scoot, visual impairment touch walk etc so disabled people can visit new development when quiet especially for people with autism, to see new layout, try out lifts, etc.

 

July 2016 MP Caroline Ansell & Cllr David Elkin attending our meeting. Topics discussed conditions of footpaths, potholes, dropped kerbs; Access and disability awareness for businesses; Purple £; Work; Travel – Stagecoach and Southern Rail; Carers, lack of respite; taxis.

 

 

 

 

Town Centre – Shared Space  Ashford Road / Terminus Road – (concerns will be ongoing for the group through the whole of Phase 1 particularly as they are having a bus lane up Terminus Road and the next phase 2 Bolton Road/Langney Road )

Ashford Road shared use has been built no tactile pavement. Small kerb trip hazard. Design shows irregular crossing not proper zebra crossing. Asking to make it a formal crossing. No statutory regs. apply. Asked to rethink design as now many towns are modifying their shared spaces. Hidden disabilities are not catered for in shared spaces. Bus stops moved to Gildredge Road and Cornfield Road making it further for passengers to walk, carry their shopping. Retailers/hospitality might have disability awareness but they are not always in an accessible environment.

…meeting Highways including Mark Weston to discuss options re loss of 4 disabled bays, location of temp bus stop(s), dropped kerb crossings … The drop kerb by Nat West you can’t hear with bus running and blind spot coming out into road behind a bus in your wheelchair…

9 February 2017 Rotary Club Tree of Light fundraiser, the Access Group was Sovereign Harbour Rotary Club’s nomination and we received £1400! So grateful for the donation and Rotary’s support.

Febraury 2017 Green Street toilets being refurbished and new accessible toilet in old police office, dropped kerbs needed for access. EBC will fund a Changing Place toilet for seafront 2017/18.

The Access Group joined The best of Eastbourne Community Hub page.  Free advertising for us and can add events and blogs to the website. Plus attend their Tweet Up network meetings bring together businesses and charities/ voluntary sector.

March 2017 Eastbourne Volunteers which launched in February featured the Access Group in their Herald column seeking more volunteers.

 

 

Possability People have an information and advice line plus starting a project to help support disabled people into volunteering. (Filling gaps after ESDA closed).

 

22 March 2017 Disability Confident Event part of Big Futures Event

Our display Stand will focus on volunteers needed for the group and general disability awareness / inclusion /equality for customers and employees / employers.

Spring 2017 Dropped Kerb campaign – the group put a complaint into ESCC as there is a need for a standard layout of dropped kerbs to ensure visibility to the right for elderly, scooter and wheelchair users, parents with child buggies crossing the road safely. Yellow lines are needed to stop people parking so close to dropped kerb.  … unless you live the life of a disabled person you don’t know what it is like – understanding the importance of this. Have to wait for a serious accident before action!

The group started a survey of the state of repair, camber, opposite each other and visibility to the right and left on all dropped kerbs with tactile paving in Eastbourne town centre and seafront plus condition of pavements … In the Autumn the information was taken to a scrutiny meeting  so a standard can be set for ESCC dropped kerbs for the future even if it will take years to implement. … Our Deputy Chair, Ray has worked tirelessly on dropped kerbs campaign for months and continues to do so … plus to make sure safe walking is part of the ESCC Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan.

Group continue to draw attention to concerns on Proposed Horsey sewer cycle path from Ashford Road to Ringwood Road. The plan is dangerous as pathway goes across alleyways and entrances to houses. During rush hour cycles will be travelling fast and the cycles will have priority over raised crossing by Age Concern. Can’t hear cyclist coming behind you when walking.

June 2017 Town Centre Prezzo – main front entrance step is too high for powerchairs needs a ramp. Accessible toilet on this level. Level access door on Upperton Road but restaurant has split level with no access to toilet inside. After Access Officer visit they are providing a portable ramp for main door access – great success. Showing a business how a simple ‘making a reasonable adjustment’ will mean more business trade for them!

June 2017 –  Eastbourne Volunteers celebrating Volunteers Week with a campaign – Not all superheroes wear capes! Our Chair, Ian was selected as one of the superheroes.

29 June – East Sussex Disability Summit organised by Possability People. Purpose to see what is going on across the county, joined up conversation, find out where the gaps are. Learn from each other. At the end to make pledges and actions to take forward.

Condition of pavements – are getting worse in Eastbourne like the roads – link with dropped kerb project especially the wheelchair routes record problems to pass onto ESCC Highways. Tree roots and tree stumps being left are a big problem in Meads, Kings Drive areas.

Summer 2017 Fabulous news – Seafront Changing Places toilet facility opens funded by the council.

 

 

 

 

Met with NHS Wheelchair Service new Manager, Sam Affonso – (Millbrooke have the contract) promoted our group and Guide to her and discussed different issues – Waiting list for clients to get wheelchairs 26 months for power chairs and for ongoing re assessments, over a year for a posture assessment. Weight and size of power wheelchairs that are now issued to use on local buses and in taxis, etc.

National Federation of the Blind conference being held in Eastbourne. On Saturday 11 November, they are doing a walk along seafront from Pier towards Holywell, with Eastbourne having shared spaces there is a need to have safe walking areas especially for people who have impaired vision or blind, impaired hearing or death and poor mobility or wheelchair user. Inviting local MP, Councillors, media and local people to support them.

Attending lots of networking meetings to promote the group with 3VA, Eastbourne Volunteers,  Best of Eastbourne – Tweet Ups. Promotion stands in Arndale, Langney Shopping Centre, WRVS,  Events – Big Event, Good Life.

January 2018 – Licensing officer and specialist adviser attending DIG’s April meeting re Accessible taxis vehicle information especially for power wheelchairs – Possability People, Wheelchair Service, EDIG and Us are all interested and invite volunteers for their questions.

Disabled Access Day 16 March 2019 idea floated with DIG to have a joint stand/event with DIG’s offer of funding up to £500.

Parking Consultation for Devonshire Park –Took on board the Groups comments re The Blue Badge drop off bay in Wilmington Gardens. It will now have an extended time on sign 8am to 11pm to cover theatre opening time. Cannot say drop off on sign as governed by Highways standard sign wording/symbols. The other blue badge bays also have 8am to 11pm in Wilmington Gardens (5 spaces) and Compton Street (2 spaces). The number of Blue Badge spaces in Devonshire Lawn Tennis car park will remain the same and Towner/Congress will have the same number as before if not more.

Pedestrian Signage and Wayfinding Strategy … Be interesting to see the design for this as talking about accessible routes to various parts of the town/attractions. (Routes need to good condition paths with dropped kerbs). They used our Access Guide town centre map in their presentation! Talking about having printed maps available at Tourist Information Centre this may be something we can link with in the future.

Fort Fun – reported no drop kerb leading into car park on pavement by zebra crossing nearest car park entrance… Success, a new dropped kerb was put in.

April 2018 Our Deputy Chair took Shared Space Petition to Whitehall. 40 Disability Groups protested Shared Space. In Eastbourne we want Prom and Harbour walkways to remain for walking only. The only two places left. Walking is good for health and mind, important for the elderly, disabled, blind, deaf and for children/families can have safe areas so they are encouraged to go out for exercise. The Minsters agreed but at local level Councils seem to do what they want.

… The All Party Parliamentary cycling group stated that cyclists and pedestrians should enjoy their own safe spaces. The evidence is overwhelmingly against shared areas. We have 20,000 people in Eastbourne with a recognised disability, we feel that they need to be listened to and protected…

Dropped Kerbs – full clear vision either side – Prince William Parade is the example we are trying to get improved so far yellow relining in one place only a car’s length to the right – not enough. Will take time. Meeting with Lisa Simmons, Highways 1st May…

…Meeting with Highways active dropped kerb policy in December regarding repair no wording about vision to right for oncoming vehicles. Will write to Sarah Newton MP. Wants MP and Caroline Ansell to get involved although been told it will not make a difference!

 

 

April 2018 The Access Group signed up as a Good Cause for Eastbourne Local Lottery we will earn 50p for every £1 ticket sold through our Good Causes page. First Draw 16 June.

 

 

 

Neighbourhood First team have had their 2 day Access Training. Been told they can only advise individuals/businesses. They cannot demand changes, etc. It is up to the disabled person to complain to the business, etc. If the NHF team can advise the Group /IW on issues perhaps we can write /phone follow up issues to help the individual’s cases.

Toilets seem to always be on our agenda. Issues –Arndale Centre confirmation re access to accessible / changing place toilets in evenings when new cinema and restaurants are open. Cineworld would they put in  changing place toilet. Langney Shopping Centre will they put in a new accessible /changing places toilet inside the centre and new Ladies/Gents on main floor? Congress Theatre  will they have a Changing places toilet? …These are ongoing requests …

Parking on pavements is also a popular issue with the town as is parking over dropped kerbs.

September 2018 Lewes & Eastbourne Walk Festival – IW & CW took part on 26 Sept on an accessible walk ‘Gateway to the South Downs’ using a Tramper All-terrain mobility scooter that the council sponsored. IW has been liaising with Antonia Lucas about access on the Downs. She is hopeful more can be done for the future to open up the Downs for disabled people to enjoy. Working with Disabled Ramblers Assoc.

 

November 2018 and 2019 Purple Tuesday events in The Beacon (Arndale) shopping centre, the Access Group joined Inclusive Eastbourne and Eastbourne Blind Society …There is great potential to use all the various resources within Purple Tuesday throughout the year, working with the shops. Any future Purple Tuesday events have to be focused on the retailers / businesses. Work with Chamber of Trade, Hotel Association, Best of Eastbourne, etc.

In 2019 we did surveys about the access and service received in shops and toilets. Had 58 Shop and 33 Toilet completed. Also had some mystery shoppers all made good comments.

The group continues to campaigns to get more wheelchair accessible taxis especially for power wheelchairs using rear or side loading. To be available at anytime not just between school runs. Disability equality training for drivers. We have completed consultations as a group and individuals, attending Taxis Licence Committee meetings with Reps from DIG, Wheelchair service user group and Possability People to show the authorities that taxi access for disabled people is a high priority in the struggle for inclusion. We are still waiting for a list of WAV taxis particularly who take power wheelchairs on EBC website.

The new Phase 1 Town Centre shared space in Terminus Road area causing great concerns for our members particularly for the railway station area and crossings. Small kerb in middle island crossing. The various colours of pavement bricks some look like crossings could be confusing as over the bus lane. Concerns for deaf people and blind/partially sighted with the bus lane. So many hazards street furniture, lamp posts, Shop A boards, etc plus the low level planted areas which are the same colour as brick pavement … campaigning goes on.

Direction of Travel 20 year plan. A written response on behalf of Access group. By 2038 population will be 25% disabled, 45% older people. They need a voice to be heard.

16 March 2019 Disabled Access Day event ‘You and Somewhere New’ in The Beacon centre with over 20 stands for people to explore and find out what Eastbourne has to offer. We had the Mayor and MP visit us.

… with 20% of population being disabled need Chamber of Commerce backing to ensure they can get into town. Not being designed out of town centre. Disabled Access Day 16 March 2019 proved the spending power of the disabled in The Beacon.

 

May 2019 A big Thank You (and card) was given to Cllr Janet Cole for her 8 years of dedicated service to the Group, as Disability Champion for EBC.  Her contributions have been vital over the years.  She felt that the future looks positive with the new Champion, Cllr Whippy being a member of the cabinet – disability will apparently be more on the forefront of the council’s agenda.

 

 

 

Campaigns that continued during 2019/20

Chasing the ESCC Access Audit from Phase 1 Town Centre Terminus Road area (still waiting to see this in March 2021). We hope they have learnt lessons for Phase 2 although this phase does not have a bus lane. Group members also have concerns over the reduction of Blue Badge parking spaces, dropped kerbs and drop off areas for taxis needed for those who have poor mobility but can still walk. (This will be on going for the group to get answers and put concerns forward regarding Phase 2).

Dropped kerbs get ESCC to agree to a standard yellow lines to the right for clearer vision when crossing

Cinema in The Beacon – concerns raised regarding access and safety particularly for those with poor mobility and wheelchair users. Location of limited seating/space – 2 wheelchair users can not sit together only at the front – head at angle can’t see all screen.

Parking for WAVs in town centre to use Beacon shops, cinema, cafes, etc

Changing Place for Congress Theatre/Welcome Building

Safe Walking areas are kept. New hazzard -Electric skates and scooters

More accessible taxis for power wheelchairs – side loaded or rear.

Langney Shopping Centre toilets – have an accessible toilet/changing places inside the centre and main toilets on shop level.

 

March 2020 Covid-19 meant the Access Group could no longer meet in person and planned events like our Disabled Access Day and stands in the Beacon had to be cancelled.

6000 Eastbourne Guides for Disabled People 2020 had been printed with our new logo and new front cover design. Sadly we were not able to distribute many before Covid-19 lock down started on 23 March 2020.

June 2020 saw the start of monthly Zoom meetings which have opened meetings to new people attending.

October 2020 Ian Westgate, passed Chair awarded MBE in Queens birthday honours for his volunteering work with the Access Group.

October 2020 New Committee Co-Chairs Brian Day and Liz Trethewey (also Secretary) with Deputy Chair Ray Blakebrough were elected to take group forward.

Campaigning Priorities for 2020/21

Taxis  for powerchairs

Cycling on prom / safe walking areas

Public transport – buses, trains. Stagecoach need to review their bus layout.

Private coaches don’t take powerchairs.

How do you get to and home from evening theatre, etc?

Parking – Blue Badge spaces, parking for WAVS, Phase 2 of Terminus Road development. Station Blue Badge Parking.

We need to promote where disabled people can park in town.

Cineworld – further meeting with Manager re access to wheelchair seats, safety, etc.

Eastbourne Access Group

40 years young – still challenging barriers to accessibility