MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council has admitted that despite a multi million pound refurbishment project at the town hall, the lift it has installed is not big enough to be used by anyone on a mobility scooter and does not offer disabled people access to the whole building.
Following concerns about the use of the lift by disabled customers, MCC initially confirmed that there were ‘snags’ with the lift installation, but stressed that the lifts that had been installed to serve both the front of the building and the back - including the Borough Theatre’s stage area - remained under warranty and that the authority was working with the lift provider to iron out the ‘final few items’.
Later, however, it was forced to admit that the lift was only ‘partially compliant’ with current regulations.
A spokesman for MCC told the Chronicle, “As part of the Hub refurbishment in 2019/2020, a new lift was installed to serve all levels of the building, alongside a new back of house lift which utilised the existing lift shaft and provided a much needed upgrade to the lift that was already there.
“Due to a number of identified ‘snags’ post construction, these lifts remain under warranty with the lift provider, who are currently working to remedy the final few items on their snagging list.
“We have a lift consultant working on our behalf in order to ensure these lifts are compliant and work as they should, no outstanding snagging item is a safety concern and Monmouthshire County Council will continue to monitor the lifts on a daily basis.
“It should be noted that these issues are compounded currently by some flooding issues we are having to the town hall basement which we have found has previously affected the newly installed front lift, which Monmouthshire County Council is working to remedy as a matter of urgency.”
She later added, “In regard to current defects, the lift design is compliant to the Declaration of Conformity issued, with installation defects representing quality and reliability items.
“The lift was not certified to BSEN81-70 as it is partially compliant (where achievable) due to the available space for the lift to be constructed within the existing building. The lift is not of adequate size for mobility scooter use (as per guidance document BS8300-2:2018), nor based on building constraints could this have been achieved.”
BSEN81-70 is the set of standards which lay down Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts an particularly focus on the accessibility to lifts for people with a disability
The MCC spokesman concluded, “The lift installed has provided general improvement to the building’s accessibility, but is not all encompassing due to the constraints of the building.
“Therefore, MCC has been developing a building specific access management plan in order to provide options for individuals who cannot access the lift in their mobility scooter.”
In concern to the flooding of the town hall basement, the MCC commented “we are currently investigating within the basement, it did affect some of our stored items as we have had to discard several bags of books.”