A campaign group is fighting to remove barriers along a coastal path in North Wales in order to make it accessible for mobility scooters.
The Flintshire Disability Forum (FDF) centre for independent living are campaigning to the local council as some wheelchair and mobility scooter users are currently restricted from accessing the coastal path.
The barriers were initially put in place to prevent access for motorbikes and horses, however they are also restricting access for disabled people. Jan Thomas, chief officer at FDF, told The Leader: “Barriers are on the Talacre Coastal Park Gronant Dunes accessed from Station Road. There are other frame barriers on the Dee Coastal Path Deeside at Connah’s Quay and Queensferry.
“Some wheelchair users are frightened to even attempt going through the barriers. It is sad that if a family wanted to go along the coastal path they could not take their family member if they were in a wheelchair.”
According to Jan, the group has been campaigning for over 18 months. She added: “We are already halfway through summer and some people still can’t enjoy a summer day along the coastal path.”
Andrew Farrow, Flintshire Council chief officer for planning and environment, said: “In 2006/7 a decision was taken to counter the problem of illegal and dangerous motorbike activity along the Flintshire coast by installing ‘Three Valley Access Barriers’. These barriers allow wheelchairs and smaller mobility scooters to pass, but larger specification mobility scooters cannot.
“We have had other requests to widen these barriers, however to do so would be against the manufacturer’s recommended specification and could leave the path vulnerable to access by motorbikes. However, we are looking for a practical solution to this issue which would allow access to all types of mobility scooters, but continue to act as an effective barrier against motorbikes.”