CALLS for a wheelchair ramp at Rastrick Library have been turned down – because alternatives exist.
But the alternative is 1.3 miles away in Brighouse.
Clr Christine Beal told residents at this week’s Rastrick Ward Forum that there would not be a ramp installed at the Crowtrees Lane library because alternatives exist to satisfy Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requirements.
Earlier this year the Examiner reported how residents said the lack of a ramp was a barrier to preventing people using the library.
Clr Beal promised to chase the issue up with the council, but her update was not welcomed at the forum.
Clr Beal said: “It’s not something I agree with myself, but the council has told me that they do comply with DDA because there are reasonable alternatives available, that is Brighouse Library and the house to house service.”
Clr Beal, who chaired the meeting, told residents that alternatives were considered, but they would require major work – and expense.
Because of the gradient on the site, the ramp would have to cover a large distance, which would then mean the grounds would have to be re-landscaped.
Clr Beal is saying: “Nobody is saying this is ideal.
“I’d like to see a ramp at the library as much as everyone else.
“I am sure we will keep looking at alternatives going forward, but I think we can say that there is no action being taken.
“To me, to get it developed it needs to be well used, which strengthens the argument to have improved accessibility, but it’s a catch 22 situation – the more people who use the library the greater the need is for this ramp, but the lack of it may stop people going there.”
One resident said at the meeting: “It’s not just people in wheelchairs who struggle up the steps, it’s people with limited mobility too.
“I think it’s unreasonable to expect people to go to Brighouse when there is a library on their doorstep they can’t easily access.”
Another resident said lack of a ramp made it difficult for parents with a pram to access the library too.