Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Inquiry Panel - Accessible Southampton - Thursday, 18th November, 2021 5.30 pm

Venue: Virtual Meetings - Virtual meeting. View directions

Contact: Mark Pirnie - Scrutiny Manager 023 8083 3886 

Link: link to meeting

No. Item


Apologies and Changes in Panel Membership (If Any)

To note any changes in membership of the Panel made in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4.3.


It was noted that following receipt of the temporary resignation of Councillor Guest from the Panel, the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, acting under delegated powers, had appointed Councillor J Payne to replace them for the purposes of this meeting.



Minutes of the Previous Meeting (including matters arising) pdf icon PDF 408 KB

To approve and sign as a correct record the Minutes of the meetings held on 7 October 2021 and to deal with any matters arising.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2021 be approved and signed as a correct record.


Accessible Southampton - Access to the built environment and public spaces pdf icon PDF 302 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel considered the report of the Service Director – Legal and Business Operations detailing an introduction to the inquiry’s context and background and noted the following presentations.


Southampton’s built environment and public spaces - What is the experience of Disabled People? – Ian Loynes, Chief Executive, Spectrum Centre for Independent Living


·  A presentation was delivered by Ian Loynes, summarising the key issues raised at the Accessible Southampton Focus Group meeting held on 11th November 2021.  Additional detail was provided as written evidence.

·  Key points raised in the presentation included the following:

o  In Southampton there are plenty of examples of good access, particularly in retail areas.  On balance accessibility has improved.

o  More space allowed since the pandemic: Great for access.

o  City Centre is good generally:  But isn’t good in other retail areas.

o  City Design - Street furniture, seating design, pavement design and condition were identified as key challenges that impacted on Disabled People’s ability to get around the city.

o  Challenges accessing cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and public buildings were identified.

o  Audio Loops - have spent 3 Years trying to get audio loop systems fitted in premises.  Only 4% have actually got loop systems installed. Hearing impaired people won't go into shops if no loop system - completely unable to communicate. 23,000 deaf and hard of hearing people who live in Southampton. Lets Loop Southampton even has a grant fund of £30,000, available to meet cost of installing a loop system (they cost about £200): isn’t even a financial case.

o  Homes - All new houses should be built to be accessible. If all homes had a basic level of accessibility built in, it would be less costly to adapt as people grow older or become Disabled. There's no real evidence that it costs more to build accessible homes when they are built at scale.

o  Lack of accessible toilets and few Changing Places compared to other cities. It should be a requirement in public spaces and new buildings. Even though not many exist, they are not used simply because people don’t know they exist.

o  Planning & Building Control - Should be building in good access at the design phase of new builds.  Perception that guidance is routinely ignored. Often no access or bad access in new buildings and access reduced when buildings are modified. Access considerations should be put in place, and planning officers should ensure access rights are preserved.

o  Used to be an Access Officer Role, and there used to be a relationship with the Access Group [Group of Disabled People] to vet plans before approval.

o  Car Parking at the Civic Centre should be maintained at all times. Currently, if there's an event going on they close the Civic Centre car parks. Quite annoying because it's the most accessible one.

o  Solutions - All public meetings should be held in accessible premises; Accessibility Checklist - Developed by City Council & Disabled People (Event organisers expected to use  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.