DISABLED visitors can struggle to get around some of York’s historic buildings and tourist attractions, according to a review of access in the city.
The National Railway Museum is among one the top rated tourist sites in the country for disabled access, according to national charity Vitalise, and now city councillors are investigating how well cultural and tourist venues in York cater for people who rely on wheelchairs, have mobility problems, or have other disabilities.
City of York Council’s learning and culture overview and scrutiny committee decided in June to launch a review of disabled access to the city’s cultural and heritage offer, and the first meeting of a Disabled Access Task Force is set for tomorrow.
The topic was proposed by Labour councillor Neil Barnes, after The Press reported on the difficulty many deaf people face getting healthcare in York.
He said: “As a disabled person myself, it led me to think about whether there had been any proper consideration of access for disabled people in the cultural sector, a sector that is clearly of huge economic importance to the city.”
He would like to see more public information available on how accessible the city’s cultural attractions are, Cllr Barnes added.
In a briefing report to the task force, council officials have laid out the current state of access at many of tourist venues. The National Railway Museum, with its large Great Hall and mainly level site, is among the most easily accessible, and has also made it into the “top ten” most accessible tourist attractions nationwide, in a survey by national charity Vitalise.
Parking is a problem at many tourist attractions, as is a limit of the number of wheelchairs which can be admitted at one time and historic buildings which cannot accommodate lifts.
Improving access for disabled people could be worth a lot for tourist attractions. Across the UK disabled people have a combined spending power of £80 million, the report adds.
Cllr Barnes added: “A city that is actively promoting high quality access is bound to attract more visitors.”