I know from those times I pushed my late father around in a wheelchair how important disabled access is. I also know how great everyone is when they see you trying to manoeuvre your way through. Without exception, everyone would offer a helping hand.
There is currently a wheelchair ramp outside the Guildhall in Hull. It isn't the prettiest ramp you have seen, however it does its job, although apparently it was erected as a temporary measure. Now Hull City Council wants to put something permanent in its place, even though there is disabled access through one of the side doors. The bill for building this new ramp comes in at an eye-watering £67,000!
I appreciate the Guildhall is a Grade II* listed building, but at a time of spending reductions does the council really need to construct a ramp made out of York stone, with the walls clad in granite to match the granite plinth of the building? Apparently so. Here's what Cllr Councillor Rosie Nicola, Portfolio Holder for Learning Skills Equality, had to say:
I believe that the Guildhall is a beautiful building and is one of the architectural jewels in Hull's crown. I am determined to ensure that everyone visiting the Council has an appropriate and attractive means of gaining access to and egress from the Guildhall and this new ramp will achieve that. It will be constructed from materials which will be in keeping with the Grade II* listing of the Guildhall and will enhance the entrance area.
Enhancing the entrance area? A ramp? If the council believes it is essential to have a ramp at the front of the building (which it currently does) then I cannot believe this is the only option, and I also cannot believe that those people requiring wheelchair access will think spending £67,000 on a ramp is a good use of their money.