Businesses warned on disabled access

BABERGH businesses are being told to act on disabled access.By next October, all buildings which provide a service to the public, such as offices, banks, shops, council offices, libraries, village halls and tourist attractions, will need to prove their service is accessible to all members of the community, including those with a disability.

BABERGH businesses are being told to act on disabled access.

By next October, all buildings which provide a service to the public, such as offices, banks, shops, council offices, libraries, village halls and tourist attractions, will need to prove their service is accessible to all members of the community, including those with a disability.

The Discrimination and Disability Act is being implemented in stages. The provision for equality of access is next on the agenda.

Clare Vint, Babergh's Conservation and Design Officer, said: "Making a building accessible can be quite time consuming so it is vital to think about the necessary changes and their implications now.


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"For example, there may be a variety of permissions and consents that are needed in order to make changes to a building.

"Owners may require planning permission, listed building consent, conservation area consent, building regulations and/or permission from County Highways.

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"The whole process from assessing the need to completion of works could take up to nine months."

Typical alterations could involve owners having to lower doorsteps, creating a ramp, widening the front door or altering internal levels.

Restaurants and pubs will also need to consider alterations to their toilet facilities, which must conform to various standards.

Listed buildings require special treatment and can be exempt, provided it can be demonstrated that all aspects of the Act have been considered.

Owners also need to be aware that listed building consent is required for most works to both inside and outside the building.

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