Out-of-order lift sinks disabled Ken's pool visits

PUBLISHED: 10:13 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

GRANDAD Ken Davies would love to benefit from the ups and downs of a disabled lift at a St Albans sports centre instead of being left complaining about it. Ken, aged 64, is missing half a lung and has spinal problems so he is registered disabled even tho

GRANDAD Ken Davies would love to benefit from the ups and downs of a disabled lift at a St Albans sports centre instead of being left complaining about it.

Ken, aged 64, is missing half a lung and has spinal problems so he is registered disabled even though he does not have a wheelchair.

He is frequent visitor to Westminster Lodge to watch his grandson train with St Albans Diving Club - but he has yet to find the disabled lift working and is forced to watch from the poolside.

Having been told that the lift was finally working, he went along last Friday to see his grandson take part in a competition, only to find it was once again out of order.

To add insult to injury, he was told that he could not go poolside to watch the competition even though he has been doing so for months.

Ken, who lives in Hemel Hempstead, said the disabled life was very old fashioned and described it as like a bit of scaffolding bolted on a trap.

He went on: "Last Friday I said could I have a chair to use the disabled lift and they said it is broken again. I said that's ridiculous and commonsense is not prevailing. All I want is access to watch my grandson dive and this is plainly silly."

When Ken said he supposed he would have to sit poolside again, he was told that they wouldn't allow it. "I said I have been doing it for the past 12 months almost to the day. You won't allow me to see my grandson when a precedent has been set."

Eventually he was allowed to watch the diving poolside but is angry that the lift is never working. "To get to the viewing area is a 12ft to 13ft row of steep steps. I think this is contrary to the Disability Rights Act.

"One of the reasons I don't go every week is that I can't go through that arguing the toss all the time."

A spokesperson for Leisure Connection, which runs Westminster Lodge on behalf of the district council, said they were aware of the issues with the disabled access which they took very seriously.

She went on: "The maintenance contractors have been called out three times in the past four months and we continue to work with them to ensure that these issues are resolved.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our disabled users and would like to assure our customers that we are looking at a long-term solution to permanently fix the lift or indeed replace it.

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