Concern over disabled access at £112m Manchester arts centre

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A trust supporting a new £112m arts centre in Manchester has said it is concerned about a lack of planning for disabled access in the project’s plans and has advised that plans be reworked to provide better access.

The Theatres Trust is backing the Factory arts centre, which will be a flagship cultural centre for the city, but warned that it may not support planning permission if disabled access is not taken into account.

A letter from the trust read: “We would expect access provision within a new build theatre of such high profile to reflect current best practice.

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“We would also expect a new theatre to provide inclusive access for wheelchair users allowing them the same journey from entrance to seat as ambulant members of the audience, but this is not reflected within current plans.”

“Disabled provision for audience members, staff and performers must at least meet minimum standards, as we have outlined above and is referenced within the design and access statement. We suggest revisions at the earliest opportunity to ensure that these points are addressed.

“We continue to welcome the scheme, but cannot fully support the granting of planning permission… unless access standards and regulations are met.”

The new cultural venue is set to open in 2020.

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