‘I felt excluded from town council meeting’

Clare Glass from Fleetwood is unhappy with some of the council's attitude to disabled access
Clare Glass from Fleetwood is unhappy with some of the council's attitude to disabled access

A WHEELCHAIR user from Fleetwood says she felt completely excluded when she went along to last week’s Fleetwood Town Council annual meeting.

Clare Glass was hoping to attend the event, held at Fleetwood Library, as a representative of West View Community Association.

But she ended up missing out on the session because she was told by library staff that there would be no disabled facilities for her to use once the meeting had finished.

Mrs Glass, 39, of Hodder Close, Fleetwood, explained: “The meeting began at 7pm, just as the library was closing.

“I was told that I would be able to use the lift to get to the upstairs meeting room, but that once the library was closed I wouldn’t be able to use it to get back down,

“This meant that I would somehow have to try and get down the stairs – in my wheelchair.

“As far as I am concerned, that is just not acceptable.

“In this day and age public meetings like this should have proper disabled facilities.

“How did they expect me to get down the steps?”

Mrs Glass said she decided not to go up in the lift, but phoned her husband who collected her and drove her home.

Terry Rogers, chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, said he had been unaware of any problem on the night and said: “I can only apologise to Mrs Glass.

“We have had to choose Fleetwood Library as a venue because , at present, it is the only one in which we are able to meet there regularly on the last Tuesday of every month.

“Had I been aware of the problem, I would have made sure that Mrs Glass could have got down those stairs safely. There are plenty of burly lads who would have given her a hand.”

Janet Thomas, Lancashire County Council’s district manager for the Wyre library and information service, said: “There is an access issue for people who want to use the upstairs meeting room outside normal opening hours, and we highlight this when bookings are made.

“People holding a meeting after the library has closed use a side door that does not give access to the main library, where the lift is situated. This means they do not have to reset the main building alarm before leaving.

“We could provide after-hours access to the lift by arranging for a caretaker to return and reset the alarm when meeting had finished, but this would increase the booking cost.

“We will raise this issue with the Town Council.”