Having been given the task of finding a simple, cost effective, easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing surface for the council to consider for installation fortunately Mark at Equal Lives had some colleagues who were able to put forward some solutions. The biggest issue as I tried explaining to the council was how soggy the ground there becomes. We spoke about my mobility and that 90% of the year they felt wheelchairs and scooters would get around the park without some sort of hard surface.
The most cost effective solution seems to be some black rubber mat with circles that allow the grass to grow and be cut and that can have a proper underlay placed under them so they do not sink below ground level. We are waiting for a local company to come back with a quote to send to the council. In the meantime it was my LG’s birthday recently and we decided to take her to the park on my scooter. It hadn’t been particularly wet in the days leading up to it but I have some great photos of what happened with my scooter.
You guessed it my wheels sunk and throughout the park I grounded out with my wheels spinning and the battery cutting out and needing to be reset. Even trying to get to one of the wheelchair accessible noughts and crosses games it got stuck and you can see the churned grass. It is things like this that make you realise councils, planners, designers etc do not understand the practicalities of what it is like and means to be disabled and how as part of any planning process there is a need for disability organisations and charities to be included in order to make sure the plans do not tick a box under the Equality Act but that the designs are practical under the Equality Act.
Around one of the pieces of equipment they have installed some of the rubber matting we are looking at laying however it doesn’t appear to have had an underlay and is quickly sinking through the mud (the park has not been open 5 months yet)