Ringing the Bells for better access for All

As you might know, the Inclusion Southmead group has been campaigning to improve access for disabled and older people to local shops, parks and transport in our community. At the top of our list has been the McColls shop and Post Office at Arnside.

Although the shop has double doors, for a long time these were locked, so the only way to get in was through a single heavy door with a step. As a result, some disabled and older residents have been left outside. Since the closure of Southmead House, the Post Office at McColls is now more important than ever for residents who need to pay rent and bills there. However, due to the lack of access, some disabled residents have been forced to ask family or friends to make payments for them.

Following our ‘Access For All’ campaign, McColls made plans for a new entrance with a ramp. But on reviewing the plans, Bristol City Countil rejected them on safety grounds. McColls also unlocked the double-doors and planned to build a small slope from the pavement to the level of the doors, where a gap makes access difficult for wheelchair-users. This plan was also pulled by the Council because the regeneration of Arnside will include making the pavements level.

In the meantime, McColls have put a bell by the entrance so that people can call for assistance. Although this is not the solution, it is helpful in the short term.  Richard Baggott, McColls area manager, has been regularly attending our Inclusion Southmead meetings and he told us that as a result of the campaign by Southmead Residents, all McColls branches in Bristol have now been fitted with help bells at the entrances.  He also updated us that McColls have now completed a survey of access inside of the Arnside shop and results are to follow.

To find out more about Inclusion Southmead why not come along to our next meeting on Tuesday 11th February in the café at Bristol North Links (formerly the Lanercost Centre), Lanercost Road, Southmead, BS10 6HZ – from 11am to 1pm.

For more info email Anthea: antheamustard@gmail.com