Concerns over accessibility at Fort William housing build

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A housing development in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands providing accessible homes has come under fire from a disability group.

The Lochaber Disability Access Panel has claimed that vital access information is missing from the design documents and people in wheelchairs won’t be able to use the corridors.

In particular, there are concerns surrounding a lack of information on the width of pavements or where drop kerbs will be placed; access to buildings appear to have steps leading to them and a storage room to keep medical equipment has not been considered.

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According to a report by The Press and Journal, the group’s concerns over the accessibility designs are being ignored.

The group has since formally objected to Highland Council’s plan to build 60 new homes, including accessible houses.

Chairman Arthur Cowie told the newspaper said: “According to protocol, established in 2012 between the council and Highland-based Access Panels, we should receive pre-planning advice on major developments, but the first we heard about this one was when we received the council’s weekly planning application submission list.

“I think building 60 new houses is quite major and, apart from one phone call from the architect’s department last month, we have heard nothing.

Meanwhile, Maurin MacDonald, vice chairwoman for an access panel, told The Press and Journal: “It will save the council a lot of money if they sit down and talk with us as issues like these will have to be changed once the houses are built. We were told that accessible homes will be adapted to the needs of the individual allocated a house, but some people have complex care needs and these will have to be addressed.”

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