Disabled Hayling Island residents say ‘impossible’ beach access is ‘discriminatory’

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Rod Hall (80) at the top of the ramp on Hayling Island beach. Photo: Mike Cooter

A group of disabled people have banded together to demand the council work to make the island’s beaches more accessible, saying the few ramps in place simply lead wheelchairs and scooters to get stuck on the beaches. pebbles.

Joanna Hamilton, who has lived on the island for six years, uses a wheelchair after suffering a brain injury ten years ago, and she is now rallying her fellow disabled citizens to call on Havant Borough Council to action.

Speaking at the ramp leading from the Southwood Road car park, the 63-year-old said: “It’s impossible to get to the beach in my wheelchair.

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Rod Hall (80) with Jayne Harrison (74) and Joanna Hamilton (63) in front of the sea defenses on the beach at Hayling Island. Photo: Mike Cooter (300422)

“It seems very discriminatory. It’s bad enough when you feel like that without having to feel discriminated against.

“The beaches on the island are all pretty much the same. There really isn’t much in it.

‘It makes me feel so much better. For me, seeing the sea is quite spiritual – it really lifts my spirits.

Rod Hall (80) at the ramp onto Hayling Island beach, where the view of the sea is blocked by sea defences. Photo: Mike Cooter (300422)

“Just put a railing so we can see the sea.”

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The island’s beaches had better facilities for people with disabilities until about 10 years ago, according to Rod Hall, a resident in his 50s.

The 80-year-old, who has osteoporosis and uses a mobility scooter, said: ‘I used to frequent this beach many years ago – there was another ramp that led to a boardwalk with a picnic table -nice.

“Unfortunately, we cannot lift the sea defenses, which are a necessary part of the island.

“That means people like me who use the trail can’t see the sea.

“I would like to see more access every two hundred yards.”

Havant Borough Council has been approached to comment on the situation, but has yet to respond.

But Joanna is not optimistic that the situation will improve.

She said: “I’d like to think so – but I’m not hugely optimistic.

“I’d like to think it’s going to progress – they’re going to start listening to the issues.”

The Equality Act 2010 says any organization that provides goods or services must make “reasonable adjustments” to ensure everyone can access its services.

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