Havant council responds to complaints over ‘discriminatory’ beach access arrangements

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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)

A group of disabled people banded together earlier this month to demand that 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 cobbles.

One resident – who ended up in a wheelchair after a head injury – described the lack of accessible ramps as “very discriminatory”.

Now Havant Borough Council has said it hopes to improve accessibility to the seafront, according to a spokeswoman for the local authority.

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She said: ‘Our new beach access points installed at Eastoke Point in 2013 have improved access to the beach, but they would not be suitable anywhere else on the seafront and we are working together to look at other areas. other possibilities.

“Part of the ambition for the waterfront is to explore opportunities for sustainable access.”

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The spokeswoman said beach pebbles – which can be difficult for scooters, wheelchairs and strollers to cross – have been added to reduce the risk to homes vulnerable to coastal flooding.

She added: “As the beach is left in good condition and graded to a profile, this fresh material tends to temporarily stiffen through a process called ‘cliffing’.” This is a natural process that disappears after several spring tides, where the waves classify the beach into a more normal profile.

“Being a pebble beach, the profile will always be steeper than, for example, a sandy beach.”

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