Lancaster disabled teen campaigns for greater independence

15 year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Cameron Redpath has taken up the problem of disabled access on the Ridge estate in Lancaster with local MP Cat Smith.
Cameron at one of the problem areas.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
3-4-2017
15 year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Cameron Redpath has taken up the problem of disabled access on the Ridge estate in Lancaster with local MP Cat Smith. Cameron at one of the problem areas. PIC BY ROB LOCK 3-4-2017
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A teenager who has cerebral palsy is campaigning for the disabled community to have better independence in Lancaster.

Cameron Redpath, who is wheelchair bound, is seeking to address “the many hurdles” he and others face around the city.

The 15-year-old has lived on the Ridge Estate all his life and says nothing has been done in the area to help ease access for those who are disabled.

“I like to go out and about with my mates like normal teenagers do as I want to fit in like everyone else but there are some barriers,” said Cameron who lives on Keswick Road.

“There is only the odd drop kerb around the Ridge and therefore I have to drive on the road which is not safe at all.

“We want to be independent as much as we can without the need of people having to help us all the time.”

The Central Lancaster High pupil has said there needs to be more drop kerbs and tactile paving on the estate.

Lancaster bus station has also become an issue for Cameron who says the facility is not “disabled friendly.”

“The doorway doesn’t line up when the bus arrives and my bus stand is very awkward especially when the driver places the ramp down,” he said.

“It becomes even more difficult to line my wheelchair up to the ramp to get on.

“Sometimes the driver has to move the bus slightly or come to help me as there is not much space to move my chair around.

“Its frustrating.”

Lancaster MP Cat Smith met up with Cameron to discuss the issues.

“I saw how the mini bus type vehicles’ doors don’t line up with the doors into the bus station forcing Cameron and other wheelchair users to make often difficult and sometimes impossible manoeuvres to access our buses,” said Ms Smith.

“I’ll be campaigning with Cameron all the way to fight for true equality of access to our buses.”

Lancaster City Council is aware of Cameron’s concerns and has started the process to find a solution that is possible and practical.

A council spokesman said: “While the bus station was designed to be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act and there are no problems with standard vehicles, there would appear to be isolated issues associated with the ‘mini’ buses used by Mr Redpath.”

The council has been in contact with Stagecoach and will be working with them to explore possible measures.

Harvey Danson, area highways manager, said: “We try to provide dropped kerbs at appropriate crossing points, and have introduced new ones throughout Lancaster.

“We keep a list of locations where people have requested dropped kerbs so we can prioritise these when resources are available, and would ask people to let us know if there is a place where having a dropped kerb would make their life easier.”