John Close - life / outro

the long-awaited, disabled persons flat

Email to Lesley

15th August 2002

Read the below from my diary.

Today I went with Pete to the flat in Middleton. We were able to gain access to the entrance lobby to the three downstairs flats. There is a narrow corridor leading from the front door to this lobby. This is not a huge space, but a handicapped person should be able to open their own door ok. To gain access to and exit from this lobby, however, is another matter since the totally unecessary door to this lobby is closed by a hydraulic piston affair, a very common device on doors for many decades. Here it means that a disabled person in a wheelchair with muscular problems might have some problems getting in but it would be impossible for them to get out. I tried this myself, I know.

If I was trying to get out that door on my own with a fire raging thru the building the housing association could look for another tenant afterwards. The door is totally pointless and would cause merriment and confusion if, say, four able-bodied people were to leave seperate flats at the same time. This building has been partly set aside for use by a person with disabilities. If this is the lobby, what horrors lurk inside the flat itself?

The last thing I am going to suggest is reporting this to anyone. Any obstacles to the handover of these flats must be avoided. Not sure that the builders or housing association would be able to go along with that 100%, someone somewhere has done some serious time-wasting in the last four months. Let's not give anyone with a machine gun a pebble to throw as well.