Disabled Campaigners Protest At Inaccessible Taxi Rank Plan

Disability rights campaigners have held a demonstration outside Leeds Civic Hall, to protest at ‘discriminatory’ plans to reposition a taxi rank at Leeds railway station. The Disability News Service reports that the protests are being led by the members of the Access Use Ability Group (AUAG), which acts as an access advisor to Leeds City Council (LCC).

The current taxi rank which serves Leeds station is just 45 metres from the entrance, but a proposed refurbishment of the station will see it relocated to a distance of 165 metres, or with access via a lift or steep steps. LCC claim the relocation means that people will no longer have to cross a busy road to access the taxi rank.

However, AUAG spokesperson Tim McSharry accused the council of spending public money to deny access to public spaces for older and disabled people. He said that LCC had refused attempts at mediation, and a legal challenge to the proposals has been overturned in Leeds County Court.

Evidence against the plans were submitted to LLC by AUAG and other local organisations. One statement was from an older person who relies on guide dog assistance in order to travel independently.

It reads: “When I found out that the Leeds Station rank was to be moved away from its easy access only seconds away from the exit, I was shocked, but when I was told the rank was moving onto a different road level and would need a lift, I cried, because travelling is such a stressful task and rather than designers making it easy, they’ve just made it impossible.”

Leeds Live reports that the £39.5m revamp of the station and the surrounding infrastructure is being funded by the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund, and the work is due to be completed in 2023.



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