Council hits back at bench claims

Media report claiming that changing height of benches will cost over £200,000 refuted.

A local authority has hit back at claims it is forcing a crematorium to carry out thousands of pounds worth of changes to make benches meet disability laws, saying the accusations are exaggerated. Broxtowe Borough Council was responding to a national newspaper report that an inspector had found benches three inches (7.6cm) lower than the allowed minimum at Bramcote Crematoria. Around 40 benches had to be replaced, each costing £400, the report claimed. The Nottinghamshire site was also ordered to pay £200,000 for lighting to illuminate the -benches and meet the Disability Discrimination Act, reports added. But a council representative said: “Some of the benches are being modified and others will be replaced as their life comes to an end. The crematorium only has 50 benches. An earlier audit highlighted improvements needed, including adjustments to outside seating as well as lighting, dropped kerbs and external signs.” Crematorium manager Kevin Browne declined to comment. “Due the sensitivity of the issue, everything that needs to be said is being filtered by the council,” he said. But he was earlier quoted in the press claiming the changes would have “staggering financial implications for us — about £200,000”. A representative for the Disability Rights Commission said it was up to councils to interpret the legislation.

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