Latest Follow-up letter to Sandwell Council

Thank-you for your response, via Tom Watson regarding my campaign to make Great Barr great for disabled people.  Please find enclosed the additional information you requested regarding the shops which are not accessible and those failing to display accessibility signage.  However, I am quite surprised that your Access Officer does not already have this information on record.

I appreciate that the retailers are not required to fully comply with Building Regulations, due to the fact that they are not all new builds although I would appreciate clarification with regards change of use or business owner.

However, it seems as though the Building Regulations are completely at odds with the Equality Act and therefore compliance with the latter will always be excused.

As highlighted on page 11 of my report that there are many ways in which businesses can make themselves accessible to disabled customers, these are not limited to structural changes as suggested. This really needs to be stressed to business owners, there must a minimum requirement they  have to meet.

Whilst I really appreciate the council reminding retailers of their responsibilities and hope this will make a difference, I feel that my report acted as a reminder to them.  Only one of the 81 retailers responded to the report and to my knowledge, absolutely nothing has changed.  May I ask which department will be sending the reminder and if any checks on progress will be made thereafter?

Please can you also confirm whether businesses are periodically assessed to ensure that access requirements are continually being met.

Thank-you for your continued support of this campaign.

Yours sincerely

Aideen Blackborough

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