Does the Parks Department discriminate against the disabled?

As part of the Enterprise area development, a section of the river path is being upgraded and to facilitate access when the lower section floods a new path through Green Park has been established. A path that will see the most use in the wettest weather has been built from compacted gravel and clay.

I have no idea who made this decision, but this is a utility path. A path that needs to be fit for all wheels ALL YEAR ROUND. The purpose of this path is to facilitate the movement of people in wheelchairs, mobility scooters, push chairs, various bicycles and people on foot.


This is a long-term maintenance nightmare and discriminates unnecessarily against wheeled users.

Even the Canal and River Trust are refurbushing the towpath with a bitmac substrate. It provides the best accessible surface and long-term maintenance free approach. Admittedly they like spraying their surfaces with gravel chips but these are bonded to the surface.

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Machine laid bitmac is a phenomenal surface for so many users and paths can last 40-50 years without any maintenance. If there is an issue with the appearance, despite all the other paths in the park being bitmac, then a spray and chip surface can be applied as the CRT are doing.

The council officer who decided to use this “soft” surface probably did it to make it look nicer. This is short-sighted, discriminates against wheeled users, and builds in significant maintenance costs down the line.

My suspicion is that this is driven by Parks department. I really hope not, as this indicates a policy/design approach which discriminates against people in wheel chairs.

This path is style over substance. It significantly impacts wheeled users and creates a long-term maintenance cost to the council. BUT hey I guess it looks good…


  1. I much prefer walking on compacted clay and gravel. Bitmac gets hot, sticky and smelly in summer which destroys the point of a pleasant summer’s walk along the canal. I think a good decision whoever made it.

  2. You are using the term “walk”. You’re not using the term “sitting in a wheelchair trying to wheel it up a muddy slope”. You are only thinking of yourself.

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