About Access helping to bring historic buildings closer to disabled people

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HISTORIC buildings such as Battle Abbey in Sussex and Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire are among those where work has been carried out by an East Yorkshire business to improve accessibility for disabled people.

Ian Streets, managing director of Hull-based access consultancy About Access, was invited by English Heritage to tender for a contract to conduct access audits of some of its properties.

Mr Streets won the work and visited five sites, including Tintagel Castle and Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, and Witley Court in Worcestershire.

He completed a study of all five and has now submitted a report which will help English Heritage to further develop its planned national programme of access assessments across its sites, with particular attention to disabled visitors. “English Heritage is well aware of the legal requirements around providing access to its properties for as many people as possible and it takes a very pro-active approach to exceeding those requirements,” said Mr Streets.

“Apart from the business benefits of securing such a prestigious contract this was a fascinating project,” he said.

“There is a real sense of history working at Tintagel Castle, visiting Merlin’s Cave and remembering the legend of King Arthur.

“But the buildings date back to the 13th century and Battle Abbey and Kenilworth Castle are even older.

“They were constructed in the days when disabled access really wasn’t a priority, and even though they’re much older now they’re definitely much safer.”

About Access was set up by Mr Streets in 2006.