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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Disabled call for better Baltic access
Tha Baltic
The Baltic sprang a leak shortly after opening
Disabled people have complained about access at the new flagship Baltic arts centre on the banks of the River Tyne.

There have been differing reactions to the art works inside the centre in Gateshead, but there has been praise for the building, constructed in the shell of a former flour mill.

Now disabled campaigners in the North East say there are a number of flaws which affect the way they can use certain parts of the 46m building.

Disability Action North East claims doors are too hard to push and toilet doorways aren't wide enough.

Riverside terrace

They also say signs are too small for visually impaired people to read properly.

Denise Knott, a development worker with Disability Action North East, said: "Disabled people can access some parts of the building and not others.

"When you consider all the money that has been spent you would have thought these issues would have been addressed."

Ms Knott also said toilet basins were too big and cubicles too small, lifts have no tactile surfaces, and wheelchair users cannot get on to the riverside terrace.

Roof leak

The Baltic centre said it was aware of access issues that have been raised, and it shared the disability forum's concerns.

A spokesman said: "Baltic has already started a dialogue with Gateshead Council to discuss how Baltic can assist the council to address these concerns."

The building is owned by Gateshead Borough Council, and its development and enterprise office is looking at the points raised by the disabled campaigners.

In July the entrance to the Baltic was waterlogged by heavy rain after the entrance roof sprang a leak ten days after opening.


Click here to go to Tyne
See also:

22 Jul 02 | England
19 Jul 02 | England
15 Jul 02 | England
11 Jul 02 | England
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