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‘We would be in very deep water’
A TOWN councillor warned he would report his own organisation to a disability watchdog over the location of the authority’s public meetings.
Clr Clive Nicholson aired his view that the council was in breach of the Disability and Discrimination Act (DDA) in regard to where the town council held its meetings.
By law Knutsford Town Council has to make it easier for disabled people to access its meetings.
The act states that public bodies should meet in locations to which disabled people can gain access, for example on the ground floor and access via the ramp.
The town council moved its meeting from the town council offices on Toft Road in 2005 as a result, and now holds many of its meetings in the Jubilee Rooms on Stanley Road, which in the past had been deemed to be DDA compliant.
But at the meeting of the council on Monday, October 8, Clr Nicholson said he had heard the council was holding personnel meetings in the upstairs council chamber at the town council offices.
Clr Peter Coan responded by saying if Clr Nicholson wanted all the meetings to be held in fully compliant DDA premises all meetings should be moved to St John’s Wood Community Centre in Over Ward.
Town clerk Steve McQuade added that no member of the public had ever asked to attend a personnel meeting.
Clr Nicholson said: “I’m sorry Mr town clerk, but that does not hold weight at all. It is an act of Parliament, and if we were to be reported that we were holding a meeting in a room which wasn’t DDA compliant we would be in very deep water.”
Clr Coan said: “If what Clr Nicholson is saying is correct then the town council and all of its committees can no longer meet here in the Jubilee Rooms, and everything should be moved to St John’s no matter what the public’s wishes are.”
Some councillors believed the Jubilee Rooms met the guidelines before Clr Nicholson then attempted to table a motion on the subject but was told he couldn’t.