Council plans to make Brighton & Hove’s beaches more accessible

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Councillors from Brighton & Hove City Council and representatives from Scope, a disability equality charity, have been working together to find ways to improve access to beaches in Brighton & Hove.

This comes in response to a petition with almost 2,000 signatures which called on the council to make the beaches and seafront in the city more accessible for all.

A statement from the page regarding beach accessibility on the council website:

“A Beach Accessibility Working Group, made up of council officers and members of Scope’s project team, has been looking at ways to improve accessibility, from creating new viewing platforms, providing new beach wheelchairs and improving signage, maps and other information.”

Currently, Brighton & Hove City Council’s Seafront Office has only one all-terrain wheelchair available for public use. However, they claim to have allocated £10,000 to go towards purchasing more. They also say that during the summer last year, several different electric and manual wheelchairs were tested on the tough beach terrain.

The Beach Access group is still looking into numerous models, including an electric all-terrain wheelchair from the US, which could be improved and adapted to be handled on Brighton and Hove’s shingle beaches. They have been working alongside seafront traders and Sea Lanes development on Madeira Drive to improve access for residents and visitors.

The council’s plans for Spring and Summer 2020:

  • “A temporary pathway, made from rubber matting, on an area of the beach outside the seafront office to improve access across the pebbles for wheelchairs, buggies and those with mobility difficulties
  • A new Changing Places toilet, due to open in the summer, as part of the new Shelter Hall redevelopment
  • A permanent viewing platform near the Shelter Hall
  • Developing plans for an accessible safe hub, for equipment and services, and a creating a new decked platform”

The council says beach pathways and other access improvements are part of the planning applications submitted for improvement works on Black Rock and development of Sea Lanes.

In terms of funding, the council is looking into how future Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions and Section 106 agreements could potentially be used for beach access purposes.

Councillor Alan Robins, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee said:

“Finding ways to improve access to Brighton & Hove’s shingle beaches has been challenging, but I am pleased, that working closely with our colleagues from Scope, we have been able to make real progress.

“We hope that, over the coming months, we will be able to put some of these practical measures in places and ensure that our world-famous seafront and beaches are accessible for all.”

For more information, visit https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/

Featured image: © Wikimedia Commons

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