Campaigners fighting for improved disabled access to buildings and public spaces have asked why a Hove seafront restaurant was allowed to open without a lift to its roof terrace.
Pippa Hodge, from Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere (BADGE), asked Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee about Rockwater which has no lift to its new roof terrace.
When the designs for the venue were approved in August, Rockwater proposed that a lift would be included in the west side of the building.
But Ms Hodge asked councillors to explain why the venue had been allowed to operate since last December without access to the roof, breaking council policy and the Equalities Act.
She said: “The law is clear that access is a requirement and should have been a condition of use of the roof terrace. Why do disabled people’s needs continue to be last to be addressed?”
During the meeting on Wednesday (6 October), Ms Hodge also asked councillors to commit to training to understand the Equalities Act.
She said that disabled people needed more than the minimum requirements if they were to have full access to buildings.
Green councillor Leo Littman, chairs the council’s Planning Committee, said that council officials had added a condition requiring that the lift be installed by Saturday 5 February.
He said: “If the lift is not made available by that date, operation of the venue must cease until it is.
“While it is, of course, disappointing the venue does not yet have full access for those with disabilities, this is being addressed by the condition in the new permission.
“As noted in the question, the equalities requirements are covered by other legislation and can be enforced by other means if they are breached.”
Councillor Littman agreed to add Equalities Act training to the Planning Committee’s programme describing it as a “useful contribution”.
Rockwater said: “Rockwater Hove has every intention of ensuring that the lift will be in place with full disabled access by the date stipulated.”
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