Parliamentary committee hears of "unnecessary" disabled open space access problems

More than 150 individuals and organisations have submitted evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee's inquiry into disability and access to the built environment, including public open spaces.

The inquiry aims to consider the full range of disability and impairment needs, including those of older people, people who have visual impairments, and people who have experience of mental health problems.

Some of the concerns raised in evidence to the Committee include: a lack of accessible housing for people with disabilities; a lack of accessible public toilets; access to public buildings and open spaces; and the layout of the urban street scene, including shared spaces.

Commitee chair Maria Miller MP said: "While I am pleased we have had such a strong response to our call for evidence, the volume of submissions demonstrates that this is a serious problem for many peopl

"Whilst we have made great strides over the past 20 years in improving access to suitable housing and local services, too often, disabled people still face unnecessary problems in everyday life– from constant minor inconveniences to major challenges. It is clear from the evidence we have received that this is an issue that affects a wide range of people across the country. 

"I hope that our inquiry will shed light on how we can best overcome the barriers that prevent disabled people living life to the full."

The written evidence received by the Committee is available to view. Details of the first evidence sessions are to be announced

Among areas the committee is examining are the design and management of the public realm and the role of its designers.

Committee: Maria Miller (Chair) (Conservative); Ruth Cadbury (Labour); Maria Caulfield (Conservative); Jo Churchill (Conservative); Angela Crawley (Scottish National Party); Mims Davies (Conservative); Flick Drummond (Conservative); Gill Furniss (Labour); Ben Howlett (Conservative); Jess Phillips (Labour); Gavin Shuker (Co-op).

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