Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Concern over disabled access arrangements at the Royal Mail Edward Street Collection Office

I have today expressed concern about the poor arrangements for people with mobility difficulties at the Royal Mail Edward Street Collection Office what serves Dundee people with DD1 postcodes and covers the east part of the West End.

A constituent recently wrote to me to advise :

“I had occasion to collect an envelope from here this afternoon.  I was somewhat surprised to see that not only have they removed the disabled parking space that was adjacent to the office door. They have positioned it at the entrance gate and put railings around the perimeter fence meaning that disabled people (and everyone else) now have to walk a distance to get to the office door.  They have blocked all access to the door other than via this walkway which caused me a deal of inconvenience and pain.

Apparently this was done because someone crossing the car park was hit by a van.”

I contacted Royal Mail about this and the reply is below :

A 44 metre walk from the access point is not acceptable in my view.   It seems Royal Mail is expecting people with mobility difficulties are having to walk far longer than is expected to receive a Blue Badge, which is simply not acceptable.   They should review their parking arrangements to make it far easier for people with mobility difficulties to get easy access to the collection depot entrance.

Scottish Government planning guidelines state that "car parking should be allocated convenient to the entrance of the premises".     The Royal Mail arrangements breach that condition.

My constituent added :

“I understand the point they make regarding  need to ensure the safety of the public, but that is true of all commercial properties.    I am mobile but walking impaired and I struggled to walk from the front gate to the door of the office, never mind back again.    
It is also a very long way for someone in a wheelchair to have to push themselves, plus it involves negotiating 3 corners that have been created by the barriers and for people who use walking aids. The problem will also get worse when we come into the winter with ice or snow on the ground.  

The disabled spaces used to be at the front door and I did think it would still be perfectly feasible to maintain at least one space and leave the access ramp with no barrier around it at that point.  

It's all very well to say that parcels can be redelivered but it's not always possible to get someone to answer the telephone in the office and things may be required sooner than they can be sent out again.”

There is a clear need for Royal Mail to look again at this.   They have got the arrangements for people with mobility difficulties wrong and they really must review this urgently.     I have requested a site visit with senior Royal Mail representatives to meet to discuss possible solutions.