Disabled facilties “poor”

ABERDEENSHIRE Council have defended themselves against claims that disabled facilities at Portlethen pool should be upgraded.

A member of the public brought up the issue at Portlethen’s January community council meeting last week.

She asked members to write to Aberdeenshire Council to ask if and when the facilities were to be upgraded.

She said: “The disabled facilities at Portlethen pool are very poor. The disabled changing room is in much need of a hoist, which is an essential piece of equipment if a person is in a wheelchair.

“Just by making the changing room bigger doesn’t make it suitable as a disabled changing facility.”

The woman added that, the last time she had visited the pool, the chair which is used to lift disabled swimmers in and out of the pool was out of order and, as a result, those in wheelchairs were left to spectate. She said: “I only realised the situation when I notcied a group of wheelchair users who had to sit at the side of the pool and watch.”

But the local authority have said that the pool and its facilities meet required standards for disability access, and they have confirmed plans to upgrade the chair lift to a “more modern model.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “The building is compliant with disability access laws and well-used by disabled groups.

“There is no hoist in the disabled changing room, but we do have a chair which lifts disabled swimmers into the pool which we intend to upgrade to a more modern model in the near future.

“In the event that people struggle to access any of our facilities for any reason, we would encourage them to speak to the pool manager, who would look at ways of either assisting them with access or suggesting alternative ways to get the desired service.”