WHEELCHAIR users will find it easier to use the beach thanks to plans for a disability ramp.

Brighton and Hove City Council is investigating options for a suitable design and location at Saltdean or Rottingdean, potentially for next summer.

It has been “actively working” with the beach access team for several years to “bring about real and tangible access improvements on our beaches and seafront".

The beach access team is a campaign group run by volunteers who have a disability or care for someone who does, and who want to make it easier for all to enjoy the seafront.

Improvements made by the council so far include accessible seating and Changing Places toilets, which are specially designed to give access to disabled people.

A council spokesman said: “This year has seen a number of small interventions which have helped to improve access on the seafront, these include a trial of two seasonal pathways to the high-water mark, the opening of a new Changing Places facility at the Shelter Hall public toilets, new accessible seating and picnic tables.

The Argus: Councillor Mary Mears said she is delighted.Councillor Mary Mears said she is delighted.

“Now that funding is available for a ramp in the eastern seafront, the council and beach access team will investigate the options for a suitable design and location in Saltdean or Rottingdean.”

The council said it was taking into account the wide-ranging “needs, aspirations and abilities” of all people and that there was not a “one size fits all” solution to access to shingle beaches.

The spokesman added: “Some disabled people have expressed a desire to be able to independently get down to the sea to swim, while others just want to be able to get on to the beach to spend time with friends and family.”

Councillor Mary Mears, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, is pleased the council plans to improve accessibility in the Rottingdean area.

Cllr Mears said: “I am delighted that the council has confirmed in the answer to my question that planning is under way for the disability beach access ramp in Rottingdean or Saltdean and that local groups will be consulted.

“This week I met with the beach access team and the seafront manager Tony Emmanuel to discuss the project.

“It was a positive meeting and they are now going to work through plans for Rottingdean and Saltdean during the winter to possibly have it in place next summer.

“It is excellent that the £30,000 funding we have secured at the budget will be put to use as part of a broader plan for more disability access to our beaches.”

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