Multi-terrain wheelchairs to boost seaside access for disabled beachgoers

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:54 19 September 2019

Big wheel wheelchairs to be provided in Exmouth. Picture: MigGroningen – Wikimedia Commons/Simon Horn

Big wheel wheelchairs to be provided in Exmouth. Picture: MigGroningen – Wikimedia Commons/Simon Horn

Picture: MigGroningen – Wikimedia Commons/Simon Horn

The wheels have been set in motion on a project which will allow wheelchair users the chance to access Exmouth beach.

Big wheel wheelchair. Picture: MigGroningen � Wikimedia CommonsBig wheel wheelchair. Picture: MigGroningen � Wikimedia Commons

A motion put forward, at the town council's September meeting, by Councillor Pauline Stott for the authority to allow her to investigate funding and storage options for multi-terrain wheelchairs was unanimously supported.

Cllr Stott said she hopes to have the specialist wheelchairs in place on the seafront in time for the 2020 summer season.

Proposing the motion, Cllr Stott said there are disabled people who would never go to the beach because their wheelchairs get stuck in the sand.

She said: "Think about people coming down on holiday with their young child or a teenager - they can't go on the beach as a family because there is no way they can get down there and they can't go in the se either.

"These wheelchairs you can actually put into the sea.

"There are two sorts - a beach wheelchair and one that goes into the sea.

"The nearest one is Lyme Regis or saunton sands and Cornwall has got loads.

"A place the size of Exmouth definitely should have some of these.

"I am sure there are charities out there that would like to fund these.

"I am sure we can move this forward and have them in place by next year."

Seconding the motion, former deputy mayor Cllr Bruce de Saram said: "It is great to know that accessibility on the sand and waves is now being taken seriously by Exmouth Town Council.

"Our visitors and members of the community with disabilities can now access our beach.

"In the UK, we know the sunny days are few and far between so when they happen, there is usually a mass exodus to the beach."

Cllr Tim Dumper welcomed the motion saying it was a 'good idea'.

Cllr Fred Caygill suggested taking advantage of crowdfunding opportunities through East Devon District Council.

Cllr Paul Millar said a number of residents have contacted him with this idea, adding: "I really think this is something the council should prioritise."

The council voted unanimously to support the motion.

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