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Haworth's ‘appalling’ disabled access is set to be tackled
An organisation promoting the Worth Valley and Keighley is opening a dialogue with groups that might be able to make Haworth more accessible to disabled people.
The Bronte Country Tourism Partnership (BCTP) agreed to try and address concerns about the difficulties faced by tourists with mobility problems.
Speaking at the partnership’s latest meeting last Wednesday, Johnnie Briggs, who runs the Bronte Walks tour company, spoke of his experience of accommodating a woman in a wheelchair on one of his tours.
He said it had been impossible to push the wheelchair – it had to be either pulled or lifted.
“The quality of Church Street is appalling,” he said. “That’s before we consider how people with limited mobility can get into the church. There are also steps at the bottom of the ramp in the Parsonage car park.
“I’m not suggesting this is anyone’s fault, but we’ve let this fall off our agendas for too long and this is incredibly embarrassing.
“Unless we start trying to find ways of working together, this is something that will bring us into an enormous amount of disrepute.”
Graham Mitchell, of the Keighley Bus Museum Trust, warned there were limits to what could be achieved. He said: “It’s a huge problem for the heritage industry, because everything was built at a time when there was no provision for those with less mobility.”
BCTP chairman, Matt Stroh, said he was happy to write to the relevant Haworth organisations to start a debate on what could be done to tackle the issue.
But he added it would probably not be the BCTP that would apply for any necessary funding.
Councillor Alan Watts, of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, said he would ask whether there were still plans in place to improve the surface of Church Street.
Speaking after the meeting, Haworth parish councillor Barry Thorne, who campaigns for a better deal for people with disabilities, said he welcomed any effort to try to resolve the issue.
But he reiterated a survey should be carried out first to study the various obstacles in more depth.
“We can’t do anything about the hill or the setts,” he said. “But there are one or two bits and pieces that shouldn’t be too expensive, such as adding temporary ramps.”