Walk, Cycle, Live
We attended the Walk, Cycle, Live re-launch event recently in the Albert Halls and also a Workshop meeting in February with Kayleigh Webster, Project Lead. See photo above. There is no doubt that the two defined routes in Stirling City have challenges to maintain pedestrian/cycle segregation from traffic.
Dumbarton Road, Burghmuir Road and Causewayhead Road have technical challenges in order to allow for parked cars and pedestrian crossings. There was a very fruitful discussion on both routes but some detail was still missing. Kayleigh will continue to consult with SAAP as the project design progresses.
Priority Budgeting meetings
Three of our members have been very busy attending Priority Budgeting (PB) meetings at Stirling City, Dunblane and Aberfoyle. Discussions focussed around accessible play/exercise equipment for two playparks, improvement of a road streetscape, accessible public toilets, path trails, active travel routes and a Changing Places Toilet.
Accessible Holiday Pod in Callander
SAAP were asked to assist with the design of an Accessible Holiday Pod and a raised garden which is being developed by the Callander Youth Project. We had a meeting with two of the trustees of the project and later sent a very detailed email to the architect working on the project. We outlined the criteria of a Pod which would suit most people with disabilities as well as ambulant users. Our understanding is that no manufacturer has designed an accessible and ambulant users’ Pod before. A contemporary Pod design is currently going through Planning Approval with the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
Pirnhall Service Station - Changing Places Toilet
We advised the Design and Build Consultant for the proposed new Changing Places Toilet at the Pirnhall Service Station by the M90/Bannockburn, that various necessary changes to the layout and equipment were required. Our suggested design is shown. He said that the design was governed by the remit of the Moto Group with their budget and “sadly will not be carried out unless things change once I have planning consent”.
Paths at Doune Castle
SAAP had a very constructive discussion with Gary Treacy of Historic Environment Scotland (HES) over two paths near Doune Castle and the Roman Fort, including a pedestrian bridge over the Ardoch burn.
The main issue was the proposal of 1200mm wide paths. We pointed out that this was too narrow and where possible paths should be 2000mm wide, complying with the Paths for All guidance in “The Lowland Path Construction Guide”.
Gary agreed to improving path widths where possible. Path signage, added seating, higher fencing, parking provision and visual changes to the ‘step ramp’ were all discussed and agreed.
Local Development Plan
Our comments were acknowledged by Stirling Council over the recent Draft Supplementary Guidance for the Local Development Plan.
A lack of effective hearing systems in public rooms and reception areas is a common and concerning issue as approximately 17% of the population have hearing difficulties. SAAP are hoping to arrange funding for a working hearing loop system in a split meeting room in the Riverbank Resource Centre.
We have also highlighted that the Community Meeting Room in the recently constructed Bellfield Centre doesn’t have a hearing loop or any other sound system to assist people in hearing and following what's said in meetings.
The new Barracks Conference facility is also a sad example of poor provision for people with hearing loss. The assistive listening system installed into the main conference room is not well liked or used by the intended beneficiaries, and there is no other system installed in any of the other meeting spaces. Staff and management appear to have little awareness or knowledge of what they are offering or how it works and there is no information available on the website to guide people. Acoustics have been partially dealt with but there are still issues to remedy to make this facility comfortable for those with hearing loss or other auditory conditions.
Steam room at The Peak, Stirling
We have asked The Peak's Facilities Management to progress the removal of the step in the steam room as it blocks access to the room by wheelchair users.
We had highlighted this problem to management in August 2019 and had received assurances that an inclusive solution would be found, but no action has been taken yet: they say a quotation for the cost of a new door to fill the void of the removed step is pending.
Second Strategic Transport Plan Review (STPR2)
We commented to Jessica Anderson who is consulting about the Forth Valley Region STPR2 Transport Plan, to highlight that there is little recognition of the needs of disabled users, particularly for people who mostly come from a rural location in Stirlingshire and can only use old and dirty public buses.
Other aspects being promoted like Active Travel, are just not viable for most disabled users. The key use of taxis was not commented on in the Plan, although Demand Responsive Transport is considered a positive feature. Jessica acknowledged our comments.
Cafe at the Church Centre, Upper Craigs
The recent approval by the Council Planning Committee of a Café at the Church Centre in Upper Craigs was disappointing as SAAP had pointed out to the architect & planning staff, that under the Equality Act 2010, there should have been an accessible toilet included in the floor layout.
We hope that Stirling Council Building Control department will highlight this need, but as this activity is not open to public scrutiny, we will not know until the Café opens.