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Row over £4k ramp to make Rottingdean's Terraces wheelchair accessible
Campaigners are calling on council chiefs to meet their “moral and a statutory obligations” to find £4,000 to make a seafront arts area accessible to all.
After a two-year campaign to raise £20,000, the first performances on the Rottingdean seafront stage took place in 2011.
But despite its first three years being received with much aplomb, those with limited mobility and with pushchairs are unable to access the area known as The Terraces.
Led by councillors, locals are now calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to provide £4,000 to create disabled access to the stage.
But council officials have said a ramp would be too dangerous.
Conservative ward councillor Lynda Hyde said: “There are many people in the village who can’t access the terraces who would dearly love to access performances there.
“I think society must do its best to allow access for all. I don’t think £4,000 is a lot of money in the grand scheme of things.”
The Terraces was created thanks to a fundraising appeal Rottingdean Arts and Play Area in Rottingdean Committee to villagers and businesses.
Money was also received from the city council and village businesses to restore the main concourse and provide benches, tables and chairs so that performing arts events and concerts could take place during the summer months.
But the amount raised fell short of providing a ramp with handrails on both sides so those with limited mobility can attend.
Despite Rottingdean Parish Council pledging £8,000 towards the scheme, the city council rejected the request for £4,000 in November.
Conservative councillors presented a motion at Thursday’s council meeting calling on colleagues to back the bid for the money and the issue will now be discussed at the next policy and resources committee meeting on Thursday, February 13.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “Working in partnership, the council has provided over £100,000 to the project and officer time so there has been a good level of support for this.
“The council’s access manager does not feel that a ramp is best suited because of the steepness and would actually prove a danger.
“There is no budget to fund this in the seafront budget or access budget.”
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