The swimming pool branded “sick and eerie in Redditch
(photo simonpreston31 )

THE newly revamped Abbey Stadium has come under fire from a number of disabled people saying little or no thought has been given to them.

Sylvia North, who supports and helps disabled swimmers, said that facilities at the £6.5m stadium are not up to scratch and they are expected to swim alongside members of the public.

Disabled swimmers have been given lanes cordoned off intended solely for their use but members of the public are using them.

Mrs North said: “We used to get 45 minutes on a Thursday afternoon for free with no general public present at Hewell Road before it was closed.

We were promised the same when the new pool opened but that hasn’t happened.

“Now we’re expected to swim with the general public, most of whom have little knowledge of the special needs of disabled swimmers.”

She added: “All we ask is a little time and space to ourselves – we don’t think it’s that big an ask.”

Regular swimmer Ron Preston, who suffers from a muscular disease, said: “I just think there has been very little consideration for disabled people.

“It’s important for me to go swimming for my health but I’m worried about being knocked which doesn’t sound much but it could break my leg.“On top of that the facilities are not very good. The ramp to get into the pool is often broken, the wheelchairs are not very good and the lift to the gym is not working.”

The stadium was officially opened last week when a number of special guests including swimmer Jamie Salter, cut the ribbon.

Kim Mitchel said I cannot believe people are complaining that the new pool isn’t disabled friendly. i took harry last week and we were treated like royalty anything we needed in regards to harrys disability we got! access to the pool was brilliant no trouble with his wheelchair and we had a fantastic time!

A Redditch Council spokesman said the stadium was designed to be disabled friendly.

“While we had initial teething troubles with the platform hoist, this has now been resolved and the facilities, which include a high dependency changing places function and a special platform into the pool, far exceed what was provided at Hewell Road,” she said.

“The group has two lanes of the pool cordoned off for their use during a public session time and we did consult with the group’s representatives prior to making these changes.”

In an interview published in the Daily Mail Simon Preston,  said , ‘I think it’s disgusting, using burning bodies to heat a pool.

‘I don’t think anyone will use it and it will be closed down in 12 months if that’s the case.

‘The council says they have 90 per cent of people in favour of it but I don’t know who they have talked to because everyone I speak to about says they won’t use the pool.

‘The plans were leaked about two weeks ago and if that hadn’t happened I don’t think they would even have put it out for public consultation, and what “full” consultation can they have taken in that time?’

After i contacted the Daily Mail the story made headlines around the world i even did an interview for  radio stations in Canada.

when the plans were first announced i was critical in the international press and my views haven’t changed  and now that it’s built, finished, and open i haven’t changed my mind, so i won’t be using it.

My sister has used the pool and moaned how cold the water was.

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