Disabled access in Battle under the spotlight

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PEOPLE with disabilities are being sought to take part in an ambitious project to assess disabled access in Battle.

The Access to Battle (A2B) Project is appealing for anyone with a disability to come forward to take part.

Wheelchair users, visually impaired and hearing impaired people are amongst those being invited to get involved.

Parents with babies and toddlers are also required as the project will also assess access for buggies and pushchairs.

The A2B Project aims to survey the current level of access in Battle.

Volunteers will visit business premises and public buildings and assess public transport and public footpaths.

The results will be collated and published online.

Where access facilities can be improved, the A2B Project will propose pragmatic solutions and short term measures that can be taken to reduce access difficulties.

Following the award of a grant by the Hastings Trust, the A2B Project was launched as part of Battle’s Local Action Plan.

One of the targets in the town’s Action Plan is to improve access in Battle for those with disabilities.

The grant will be used to train 10 volunteers who have a range of disabilities to take part in the project.

Alan Cole, project coordinator, said: “There is very little information available about access facilities and some of the access facilities are not what they say they are.”

He added: “I’m trying to make it a positive thing, rather than starting pointing fingers at people.

“It’s more to do with encouraging people to improve and demonstrate to them that there could be benefits to them and their business.”

The scheme is being backed by the town’s chamber of commerce.

Alan said: “The chair of the Battle Chamber of Commerce is for it.

“He understands the benefits it could provide to the businesses because there’s quite a high percentage of people who have a disability of some sort.”

Chamber chairman Dale Cromwell said: “We will happily support any action they take and will put the information up on our website.”

Alan is seeking volunteers to attend a training session on March 14.

If you are interested in taking part in the A2B Project, send your name and contact details to acole.1066@btinternet.com or write to him c/o The Almonry, High Street, Battle, TN33 0EA.