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Joanne M
Joanne M, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience:  LLB (Hons), LPC
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Type your question here.I am treasurer of a Table Tennis Centre

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Type your question here.I am treasurer of a Table Tennis Centre with disabled access but the building is to be demolished in due course. The best alternative venue does not have disabled access and may or may not have in the future. Is it breaking the law to move from a building with disables access to one without? The Centre is a limited company and at present opens to the public on certain nights. Thanks. XXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Submitted: 10 months ago via InBrief.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Joanne M replied 10 months ago.

how many people will use the disabled facility? is it possible to put a disabled access in the new building? can we have the full background details please?

 

Thank you

There is no absolute duty to provide disabled access. So it is not illegal to move from a property with disabled access to one without.

The club however is under a duty not to breach the Disability Discrimination Act which requires employers in any building which is open to the public, to make reasonable changes.

In our old office, the front and rear of the building was listed and therefore we were not allowed to put disabled access in for wheelchairs.

This link tells you far more than I can ever put on this page

http://www.access2.com/Page/AccessibilityDDAApply.aspx

And I am happy to answer any specific points you wish to raise.

Joanne M, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience: LLB (Hons), LPC
Joanne M and 6 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for the answer. The proposed new venue will not actually be owned by us. We will just pay a fee to use it. There is a lift to the floor we are using but it is not in working order and will take £20000.00 or so to fix. The owner of the building is trying to raise cash to fix it but this may or may not happen.. Membership of the Centre is about 130 although not all would use it. A few members of the public use it too. My concern is if a disabled member came to use the centre and could not get in could he take us to court? The rooms in question are presently used by a dance troup and have been for some years.

Expert:  Joanne M replied 10 months ago.
Do you have any disabled members who need a wheelchair?
if you didn't use this building, where would the club go to?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

There is one disabled member who uses a wheelchair. It is possible I suppose to go to a more disabled friendly facility such as a school but the hire rate is far more and we would only have use of it for half the time we would at the proposed new venue. I am not sure we could afford to pay any more than the price agreed with the new venue.

Expert:  Joanne M replied 10 months ago.

Thank you.
Thank you. The court will not enforce an impossibility and it appears that if anyone were to insist that there was a disabled facility which would mean either fixing the lift or moving to more expensive premises, it would appear that the club would have to close for financial reasons.
Of course, that is not to say that the one person with a wheelchair cannot bring an action under the DDA but from the fact you have given, I do not think they have a very good claim at all.
My suggestion would be to discuss things with anyone who would need a disabled facility, before you actually move.
I have experience of access groups and very often (purely based upon my own experience) they can be quite pedantic with their requirements and I do know of one particular case where the local authority spent £10,000 putting a ramp in to a particular small local shopping precinct to allow wheelchair access up three steps to facilitate the one wheelchair owner in the area, who only actually lived there for weeks before moving. As far as I am aware no one with a wheelchair has ever used it but I am aware that several people have tripped over it and have brought successful claims against the council for injury!
What I would do is carry out a financial assessment of the cost of doing everything that you propose to facilitate wheelchair access including ramps, fixing the lift, alternative accommodation etc etc, so that at least then if the matter does end up before the court, you can show that you have investigated everything that is reasonable in order to provide this facility. You can also discuss all your findings with the disabled person.
It might also be worthwhile speaking to your local access group and discussing with them the problem that you face. There may be a grant available from the local authority and that would be worthwhile investigating and the local access group will be knowledgeable in that respect.
I think it is a case of showing that you want to facilitate this but are un-intentionally unable to do so
Does that answer? Can I assist further?
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Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thanks very much for your answers. Very helpful.

Expert:  Joanne M replied 10 months ago.
I am glad to help.
Please do not forget to rate my answer service positively, even if it was not what you want to hear, otherwise I get no credit for my time here today.

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