The RHS anticipates a record level of attendance at its 2006 shows. Shows director Stephen Bennett said the 25 per cent enlargement of the second Cardiff spring show on Easter weekend, a fourth day at Malvern in May and the potential for growth, given good weather, at Hampton Court and Tatton Park, could mean a bumper year.
The Chelsea show will continue with its fifth day for a second year, with attendance capped at 157,000. Bennett said the extra day was “a huge success” that “increased enjoyment”.
Meanwhile, at the launch of the RHS show season last week, disability writer Fred Warden hit out at RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s lack of disabled facilities.
Warden was particularly worried that the Royal Hospital site in London had no dropped kerbs for wheelchairs. He added that the site should be better equipped for wheelchairs. But Bennett said no one had claimed that Chelsea was a perfect site. “The show is a building site. We’ve tried kerb ramps but they are knocked to pieces by trucks. It’s not our site to flatten.”
British Council for Disabled People service manager Margaret Bordogna-Crane said, because of the wording of the Disability Discrimination Act, the RHS could argue it was not reasonable to put in permanent ramps. She added that the RHS is addressing disability equality issues but disabled people “don’t have equality because of the way the law is written”.
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