Safety check leads to disabled Town Hall access row

Safety check leads to disabled Town Hall access row

A FIRE safety review has led to disabled places at Cleckheaton Town Hall events being cut by half.

The move was revealed when carer Margaret Couch bought tickets for Carousel, which starts later this month.

Husband Tony, 76, a former member of Heckmondwike Players, was left in a wheelchair after a stroke seven years ago.

Margaret was told when she booked their tickets that the disabled seating had been moved to the back row.

There are also now only three seats available for wheelchair users - which left St John’s Church warden Margaret shocked.

She said: “What happens if more than three disabled people turn up? Will they be turned away?

“It’s quite common for staff at the Kenmore Cheshire Home to take four, five or even six disabled people to events at the town hall.

“And what about pantomimes? Disabled children could now miss out on what is a fantastic experience for them.”

She added Tony, a life-long theatre fanatic, might not be able to see or hear properly from the back row.

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said the location brings Cleckheaton in line with Dewsbury and Huddersfield town halls.

She added the move was made over the summer and the new seats are only six rows further back than before.

On the location she said: “This is to enable the wheelchair user easier access to the seating area.

“There is also more space and comfort for the wheelchair user and carer as well as central front-facing seats.

“Previously, the wheelchair positions were in the side stalls and offered limited space as well as partial side views of the stage.

“The limit on numbers followed a fire safety review.

“We need to be 100 per cent confident we can safely evacuate all our halls.”

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