Council apologises for blunder that blocked wheelchairs at an entrance to Broomfield Park, reports James Cracknell
Enfield Council has apologised to wheelchair users for an “oversight” after blocking them from using an entrance to Broomfield Park.
After a concrete block was placed in front of an entrance to the park, installed to stop vehicles from entering illegally, only enough space was left for people to enter on foot.
Local wheelchair user Nina Grant was outraged by the sudden blockade and had threatened legal action against the council if they did not move it. Although other entrances to the park allow wheelchair access, the gate blocked by the council was the nearest one to Nina’s home – forcing her to use an alternative entrance 300 metres away.
Nina was especially angry with the council because, after submitting a Freedom of Information request about the decision to block the park entrance, she discovered that no Equality Impact Assessment had been carried out. “It is discriminating against a particular group of people,” she told the Dispatch. “A public body like the council has to give due consideration to how it affects protected groups.”
Nina enjoys following the path inside the park on her route home from Palmers Green, but had been forced to follow the pavement instead. She added: “It is a lovely park. If they had put it [the barrier] slightly to the side it would still have blocked vehicles without blocking me.”
After several weeks the council finally decided to move the concrete barricade and issued an apology. A spokesperson said: “The concrete barriers at Broomfield Park were placed to prevent illegal encampments taking place in the park; unfortunately their positioning prevented wheelchair users from being to access the park at that entrance.
“These barriers have now been moved to facilitate wheelchair access. We would like to apologise to anyone who was inconvenienced by this oversight.”