So having received the last email response from Wymondham Town Council and being somewhat flabbergasted by their attitude and somewhat blase nature to their responsibilities to all members of the community and especially to disabled people.

My email response was still polite but certainly much firmer in my belief that more should be done by them to make the park accessible for ALL including once again copying in all groups of the community who I emailed originally, and once again it was just me who was copied into the response. My email is below:

Good morning Trevor,

Thank you for your email, I have copied in Archant news and Wymondham Stuff who were on the original email and that you must have overlooked in sharing you reply with, and furthermore to Equal Lives who are an user led organisation led by people who face disabling barriers and who are dedicated to making our voice heard. I must say I find the response incredulous and I refer to the point I first made in my email dated 8th Aprill 2015

I am saddened that in the 21st century and despite pledges of London 2012 leading to changes in disability understanding (which is so much more important than just awareness) that an issue like this should arise.

I note that in your response you explain that when you replied to me on the 9th April the park had been planned to be re-positioned near the tennis court, having had the concerns of a disabled member of the community raised and that you had responded to, were these concerns considered or even passed onto the committee when you state in your reply that a further decision was made to move it.

“Nearer the installation date following guidance from the play officer at South Norfolk Council the decision was taken by the Town Mayor and the Chairman of the Council’s Leisure & Environment Committee to move the location to its present position”
When this decision was made was further consultation with the public offered, were people like myself able to highlight such issues if you did not highlight this issue on my behalf having previously been contacted by me? I did not see anything reported about such a decision being made, thus giving me the opportunity to once again raise a concern initially sent to Wymondham Town Council on the 8th April 2015.

You state that you have

  1. visited the site with a representative from the supplying company and the play site officer and have been advised that the installation is complient, 
  2. “appreciate that there is a grassed area between the disabled car parking spaces and the equipment”
  3. “new play equipment does include items that can be used by disabled children”.

Well taking each point you have made individually

  1. making an area “compliant” is different to making it Disabled accessible and demonstrates beautifully my point I made in April of the differences between being disability aware, and being understanding of disability.
  2. You appreciate that there is a grassed area, well that grass area is the issue and as previously stated I invite all the Town Council to come down and really “appreciate” what a grassed area is like to cross in a wheelchair, I’ll even supply my wheelchair!
  3. I’ll take your word for it that the new equipment does include items for disabled users to use, the only problem there is that many of them including myself may never find that out as we cannot get to the play area in the first place.
The age the play area is designed for is not relevant whether my child is 3 or 8 I would still not be able to get to the park to watch them play, take photos of them playing, be there to warn them about the dangers of talking to strangers, be on hand to settle/calm down any disputes that may arise over the equipment or be there were they to fall and injure themselves. Do you think Children’s Services would come knocking on your door or mine if at 8 I took a child to hospital with unexplained injuries, or they were taken by ambulance without a parent in sight as you seem to imply at 8 I am not needed to look after them as the play area is primarily aimed for 8-13 year olds?
I thought the whole purpose of the equality act was to ensure equality for all, not for a Town Council to say there is one play area a disabled person can access when their children are young so that will do and that it does not matter that when their children grow older that there are no other play areas that can be accessed.

There is play equipment for her down there and I cannot access it, surely it is the councils duty of care to ensure that in 2015 play areas are accessible for all, and that this should be done as a matter of course, and should not have to be highlighted to them by a frustrated disabled person. A simple tarmac path without all this aggravation should be built into any design without causing upset and frustration to a minority in society that encounter issues everywhere they go.
I have to plan routes all around the town to navigate the so called dropped kerbs that are not really dropped, shout through many shops to get assistance to get ramps in or to get the services I need brought out to me, many cafe’s in the town simply aren’t big enough for me to navigate in my wheelchair, and now it seems I have to pass my inconveniences on to my daughter with regards to her only being able to play in one place. Which by the way is considerably a much further distance to wheel from the disabled bays in Central Hall Car Park, through the car park itself and along the tarmac path to the play area than at Ketts Park. Or if I cause further inconvenience to the residents that are already upset about the Kings Head Meadow play area and park outside their homes and access the park from other areas I believe this journey would still be a greater distance in my wheelchair.
If you would like to give me a date to meet the members of the Town council at Ketts Park to time how long it takes you to get to the play area across the grass (which becomes like a bog after rainfall and through winter). Whilst doing the test it would be good for you to consider how much harder it would be if like me you were suffering from chronic debilitating back pain and taking 5 different types of medication just to try and get up and showered in the mornings, I will arrange for assistance in getting there to meet you all.

I feel as if you have not addressed my concerns of April, that the Town do have a duty of care to ensure adequate disabled access, and that you have not taken my concerns lightly. I have no wish to stop children playing in the new park as I’ve previously stated, merely a wish for my child to be able to do so whilst under MY safe supervision.
Yours frustratingly
Neil Seach
(Home owner in Wymondham)

cc Equal Lives

    Wymondham Stuff website
Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury

Having tried to make my case as politely as possible and raising my concerns as early as possible (before the park was even started to be built in April) and tried to make the council understand the difficulties faced I felt I had no opportunity but to increase the severity of my letter and to include a Disability Rights Campaign charity Equal Lives.

The response from the council once again was a huge let down:

Good afternoon Mr Seach
Thank you for your email.
I have spoken to the Chairman of the Council’s Leisure & Environment Committee who have responsibility for Ketts Park. He has again spoken to South Norfolk Councils play equipment officer who has confirmed that the area is complaint.
I am on annual leave next week and would be happy to meet you upon my return at Ketts Park. However I would advise that it is highly unlikely that the Council will take any further action.
Many thanks
Trevor Gurney
Town Clerk
Wymondham Town Council

To back up what I say about the grass becoming so boggy in the winter I took this photograph that is displayed around Ketts Park. It clearly states no wheeled vehicles between September and March, now I am assuming this means cars etc not my wheelchair or Mobility Scooter, but it does demonstrate perfectly how soft and boggy the grass is 8 months of the year, and how difficult this would be to cross in a mobility vehicle of any description.

No Wheeled Vehicles on the Grass 8 months of the year!
No Wheeled Vehicles on the Grass 8 months of the year!

Once again I am told the area is compliant (well complaint, but I’m sure they mean compliant), with the council having spoken once again to two job titles and once again forgetting to copy in all parties on my email. So I forwarded the email on to the people I had included in my email

Good morning all,
Please find below Wymondham Town Councils reply once again not copied to yourselves and telling me that the play area is ‘Compliant’ I shall be replying and copying in yourselves, all of WTC councellors as well as various other people within South Norfolk asking what is meant by this term ‘Compliant’ and for my emails to be forwarded to the people he names by position only.
I will be including some photos, along with some other evidence I am gathering. As you can appreciate I get easily exhausted with my disability and high levels of medication so please bear with me as I will need help from family and friends gathering this. I will be taking Trevor up on his offer to meet at Ketts park and will be inviting you and all other people I email my response in to join us. As he is on annual leave next week this will give me time to formulate my response.
If any of you wish to talk to me in the meantime please email me or telephone me on ############ or Wymondham ###########.

Many thanks

Neil Seach

What I expected to be an easy yes we will put in a pathway is fast becoming a farce……………………

One thought on “Let battle commence pt 4 – I’m getting a little frustrated now

  1. I can’t even begin to describe how incredulous I am at the continued assertion that compliance is being maintained to what clearly appear to be an undisclosed set of standards that in no way address the points you raised.

    I’m honestly speechless…

    Liked by 1 person

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