South Aberdeenshire ensuring inclusivity through Access Visits

Over the past six months, South Aberdeenshire was mostly dealing with planning applications monthly. However, the routine work has never ceased. It brought to fruition some of the longstanding disputes, particularly in parking.

Sometimes, the panel carries out “access visits”: they visit places like apartment buildings and public spaces to investigate how fit it is for disabled people to use. For example, the most recent access visit has been to a large Hotel, which is being turned in to self serviced apartments.

When it comes to successes, Aberdeenshire South excelled in encouraging applicants for holiday accommodation to have at least one unit accessible. Disabled people often struggle to find a proper house or flat that would meet their needs for living there temporarily. What’s more, local architects are gradually adapting more and more parking space for disabled. Such progress couldn’t be done without the Access Panel members who kept raising these issues, pressing for their resolution.

At the same time, the Access Panel highlights one area of improvement, which is attendance at the meeting. “We have 11 members but often only a few are available on the day,” the representative told us.

As the work is set to continue, albeit at the mellow pace, the Access Panel is going to keep a close eye on inaccessible locations. Therefore, another access visit is going to be undertaken soon to ensure that all requirements for inclusivity are met in the future.