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How Accessible is York for Wheelchair Users?

Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com

As part of their recent nationwide campaign #FeneticChallenge, Fenetic Wellbeing tested York based blogger Louise Railton to find out how accessible York really is.  She enjoyed a day out to the cinema, shops and restaurant, Louise looked at our historical city through a very different pair of eyes.

Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com
Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com

Her first observation was the streets. Although a lot of the pavements in York city centre are now smoothly paved, some of the old streets, like the shambles, are cobbled, winding and very confined. Getting down and around these streets would definitely be a struggle for someone in a wheelchair or using a walking aid.

When choosing a place to eat, Louise and her boyfriend opted for Zizzi’s, the Italian style restaurant with quirky décor, found down Lendal Street. Walking in, Louise noted that the tables we’re a little too close together and decided that directing a wheelchair around the restaurant wouldn’t be easy. However, the restaurant did have disabled toilets available and they are easily situated in the main area of the restaurant.

If a restaurant chain like Zizzi offers limited accessibility for wheelchairs to manoeuvre around we can only wonder what it must be like in some of the standalone restaurants in heritage, listed buildings, which York certainly has a lot of!

Fortunately, in York you’re not just confined to eating or shopping in the city centre. There are also lots of other choices at Clifton Moor, Monks Cross or Vanguard. All three shopping villages are easy to get to via bus.

The bus service is York is completely wheelchair friendly. The front section of the busses have space to fit wheelchairs in comfortably, as well as seats at the front specifically designed for the lesser abled and the driver can lower the door or provide you with a ramp to help you get on the bus.

 

For her cinema visit, Louise went to Vue Cinema over at Clifton Moor and was pleasantly surprised! The building is incredibly accessible, including a great selection of disabled parking available right outside the buildings main door and automatic doors at the entrance.

Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com
Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com

She was also pleased to see that the disability signage is clearly posted and there is lots of room to get about without causing hold up for anyone else.

Next up on the places to visit was Argos, Clifton Moor. Again, like Vue there were lots of easy to spot, disabled parking right at the front of the shop. There were also particular counters and kiosks specifically designed at a lower level. This makes things a lot easier for wheelchair users to see the things they’re buying, speak to the employee behind the counter and make their shopping experience more enjoyable and less stressful overall.

Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com
Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com

It’s great we’re not confined to just staying in the city centre for our retail needs because evidently, if that was the case, wheelchair users or people with walking disabilities would struggle. Being a historic city and with a lot of the building in the city centre being aged it’s understandable that all those centuries ago they just weren’t designed to be wheelchair friendly, but ultimately, in 2016, ALL pubs, clubs and shops in York City Centre should be accessible to everyone – though it doesn’t seem far off, these improvements are small and easy. If nothing else, wheelchair accessibility is enshrined in law.

The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on providers of goods, services, and facilities to make reasonable adjustments in order to avoid a disabled person being placed at a substantial disadvantage.

 

Images copyright: LouiseRoseRailton.com