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July 2009

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The Public Inquiry into Pitshill is over, and at long last so is the dispute.  It is about 12 years now that this problem involving Rights of Way has rumbled on. Feelings have run increasingly high until eventually it became impossible to mention Pitshill without becoming embroiled in an argument.  The Access Group has been involved for the past three years. We have been pleased to act as advisors to Mr. Pearson with regard to the formation of the new accessible footpaths.  Now that the various parties have settled their differences Mr. Pearson will be able to complete the planned circular route.  This will also involve the formation of an accessible viewing platform.  From this area the views of the house, it’s parkland, and the stunningly beautiful surrounding countryside will be  available to all.  The Group would like to thank Mr. Pearson for providing disabled access to such a lovely walk.  The importance of this event is that with the formation of the South Downs National Park disabled tourism is going to be so much more important to the south coast area.  So let us hope that further fully accessible walks are made available in our local countryside for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors.


The Access Group

The Group continues to develop and flourish.  We have recently received funding in the form of a Lottery Grant of £3,274.  This is to purchase equipment and provide some organisational costs for the next 12 months.  We have also received the means from a Grassroots Grant to enable us to purchase Power Point equipment.  Talks and presentations are now within our scope.  Finally, we have been offered  a £3,960 grant from Action in Rural Sussex.  This is made up from two sources, the European Union Social Fund and the Learning and Skills Council.  This last grant will pay for a further four members of CAG to attend the course run by the Centre for the Accessible Environment.  The Group will then have a total of five accredited access assessors.



A good example of level access

The Group continues to promote the benefits of an inclusive and accessible environment.  Sometimes our successes are small in the greater scheme of things, an automatic door here, a level access there.  But these things make a huge difference to the people affected by the lack of them.  One of our successes has been the provision of a disabled parking bay for a severely disabled employee who was struggling to use the general car park.  The Group is also delighted to see a local chemist providing level access through a raised paving area plus a fully accessible shop.  Many thanks to them for their consideration of the less mobile members of the community.


The Group will also be conducting a survey in the near future on the recommended designs of accessible toilets, with a view to petitioning for a change in the present building regulations.  For this, watch this space!