There are no plans to make the pedestrian access to the new Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre disabled friendly, it has been confirmed.
The ‘back’ entrance to the £4.8million complex, off the A3122, was built for patients arriving by bus.
But instead of an easily accessible ramp, the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust built three concrete steps and a loose gravel path.
But the trust insists the main entrance to the purpose-built centre is fully accessible and compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act, and the pedestrian access was not created to replace it.
Helen Elkington, the trust’s associate director of strategic estates, said: “We have raised the issue of the location of the bus stop on the main road with the relevant parties who are responsible for this in the hope that a solution can be found.
“In response to requests from local people, we put in place an additional access route from the current bus stop which, due to the nature of the site, has a small number of steps. This additional access route does not replace the formal entrance which is fully accessible.”
Mr Cawley said: “This seems like a very weak response. I’m not at all convinced that they could not have made the pedestrian access meet all requirements, rather than shovelling a pile of loose gravel and a mixer full of concrete there.”
Mr Hawkins hailed the trust’s response “totally unacceptable,” and pledged to continue to press for the entrance to be accessible to all and compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.
The gate at the entrance will be an added “struggle” for the disabled and pram pushers to operate, he added.
Fellow NHS trustee, Rosemary Rowe insists: “The whole entrance needs rethinking. It’s totally inadequate for the people who are going to use it.
“They could have paved it and put a ramp in easy, so everybody could then use it as it was intended.”
Concerned resident Hilary Bastone added: “It would be quite easy to run a ramp in here and concrete this out.
“The NHS trust which is supposed to be looking after our disabled people should have made special arrangements for them to get in to the new health and wellbeing centre.”