Call for better access for disabled in Haworth

Campaigner: Councillor Barry Thorne pictured in Haworth

Campaigner: Councillor Barry Thorne pictured in Haworth

First published in News

Fears about lack of accessibility for disabled visitors in Haworth are due to be raised at a meeting in the village.

The topic will be debated at a meeting of the Bronte Country Tourism Partnership on Wednesday, January 16. The organisation markets Haworth and the Worth Valley as a visitor destination.

Concern over the situation for tourists with mobility problems was expressed late last year by Johnnie Briggs, who runs the Bronte Walks tour company.

He said the seriousness of the situation was illustrated to him when a woman in a wheelchair took part in one of his tours round Haworth’s historic attractions.

“It took four of us to move her around and showed just how difficult it is for anyone in a wheelchair to move from one place to another in the village,” he said. “The wheelchair had to be picked up and carried for parts of the tour. It was an uncomfortable experience for this woman.

“It’s not until you try and help a person with a form of mobility issue that you realise how bad it is. It could be someone in a wheelchair, or maybe people who use a walking frame or stick.

“This has fallen off the radar. We’ve just stopped thinking about what we should be doing to address it, but there are a whole range of small things which can be done. We need to find a solution.”

Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury parish councillor Barry Thorne, who has spent years campaigning for a better deal for people with disabilities, acknowledged accessibility was a problem in the village.

“Partly it’s because of the nature of Haworth,” he said. “A lot of it is heritage buildings and then there’s the slopes, the cobbles and steps leading into shops. Putting ramps everywhere wouldn’t work. This would need a survey to see what can and can’t be done, but whatever you do isn’t going to be perfect. I’ve seen people having difficulties here before. There are obstacles just about everywhere.”

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