Saturday, 11 June 2011

But it is 'Accessible'...

Sometimes I hate things labeled as accessible.
Advertised as accessible.

Accessible for me? Accessible for you? Accessible for who?

It usually doesn't bother me at all. I'll just ask questions to get the info I need -until I meet someone who's only answer to my questions is 'it is accessible'.

How does an estate agent who has met me once know what is accessible for me? What does he know about my coordination or hand function or grip strength and how that applies to my abilities to open an external, locked gate?

"Don't worry because of course any gate installed will be accessible, it has to be by law."

Erm. No.

Reasonable adjustments have to be made. That doesn't mean all external gates on the market can be opened by me. Or that a well meaning builder will put in something that I can open. It means they can be opened by most people with a range of ability levels. Accessible for 90% of people doesn't necessarily include me. - just tell me for definite what the gate opening mechanism is (key? Yale lock? (definitely not me-friendly) swipecard? movement sensor? coded keypad?) and I'll know if I'm in the 10% or 90%.

He said how helpful the developer was trying to be. And how everything would be wheelchair accessible. I appreciate all that. I'm not trying to campaign or make a point. Just answer my question. I've been asking for weeks. Any builder/developer can easily find out what kind of lock is on the gate he's bought.

I may have been patronising.
I may have raised my voice in frustration.
I am not proud of this.

But it worked. Slightly.

He called back: He'd spoken to the developer. The pedestrian gate which will be installed shortly will be opened by coded key-pad. I thanked him, said that answered my question and would be accessible for me, and that I would instruct my solicitor to proceed with the purchase.

But he didn't really understand. He continued trying to 'explain'.

If I wasn't disabled and had asked what colour the gate would be, would it have taken so long? would I have had to sit through lectures on 'the developer won't choose a colour that looks bad'? would the agent spend ages explaining that he couldn't tell me the exact chemical composition of the paint and therefore neglect to tell me the colour either?

When I ask about accessibility it isn't out of irrational fear. I don't want reassurance.

I want answers.

Direct and simple answers to direct and simple questions.

1 comment:

  1. I think you need to get that in writing. And what's happening re the main gate?


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