Councillor cannot attend meetings without better disabled access to town hall
FORMER Tewkesbury mayor Chuck Pavey has claimed he cannot attend council meetings in the town hall because of disabled access problems.
And he said the town council's plans to install a lift in the hall have stalled, leading to him lodging a formal complaint with the authority.
The 70-year-old town councillor, who was mayor between May last year and May this year, said he has missed a number of council meetings because he is disabled and no longer feels safe walking up and down the staircase in the town hall.
It has to be climbed by members, who hold formal meetings on the first floor of the High Street building.
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He said: "The hand rail is 2ft high on the one side and non-existent on the other. It's a dangerous situation."
Mr Pavey gets about with the aid of a walking stick as he suffers from a degenerative spine condition and suffered a heart attack earlier this year.
With plans to install a costly lift in the hall being opposed by some councillors and members of the public, Mr Pavey feared he would not be able to attend future council meetings.
He believed he could fall over the edge of the hand rail if he tried to use the stairs.
"It's a ridiculous scenario and I'm entitled to complain," he added.
"It's not only me, there are lot of other people struggling to get up the stairs."
He said those opposed to the lift plan said it was the listed nature of the town hall that made it difficult to accommodate disabled access.
But he said they were wasting the time and effort he had put in, getting the borough council's conservation officer and English Heritage on board with the lift idea.
Town clerk Pauline Clarke said installing a lift was still planned as part of improvements to the town hall and meetings might temporarily be held on the ground floor to accommodate disabled people such as Mr Pavey.
She said members had agreed that people could ask for this to happen three days in advance of meetings.
In a letter to Mr Pavey, she said: "I trust this will go some way towards allaying your concerns and allowing you to continue to attend meetings."