Will new hub be putting disabled users at risk?

Bearsden Burgh Hall
Bearsden Burgh Hall

A worried resident has claimed that the planned transformation of Bearsden Burgh Hall into a community hub could pose a safety risk for disabled people.

Hamish Guthrie (64), whose disabled son sometimes needs to use a wheelchair to get around, says the design of the new hub could be dangerous for wheelchair users and those with mobility problems.

He believes that it would be very difficult for them to exit the building quickly in an emergency, such as a fire.

Mr Guthrie attended a consultation meeting about the new hub a few months ago and a member of the public asked what plans had been put in place to evacuate wheelchair users from the public hall space on the first floor.

He says they were told that anyone in a wheelchair would be taken to a safe area upstairs where they would wait until the emergency services arrived.

Mr Guthrie, who has also cared for two elderly parents who used electric wheelchairs, said: “My son has very sensitive hearing so leaving him in a building with a loud fire alarm going would cause him a huge amount of pain and distress.

“Our elderly parents would have been terrified to be left in the building in that situation.

“Scottish Government guidelines state that evacuation plans should not rely on the arrival of the emergency services.”

Thomas Glen, director of development and regeneration, said: “The concerns highlighted in relation to fire precautions have been taken into account by the design team and a specialist fire strategy consultant.

“Proposals must comply with current building standards for this type of public building and will be assessed by Building Control as part of compliance procedures. The capacity of the facility has also been designed to meet all necessary fire regulations.

“The proposal will provide an improved car park layout which will include disabled bay provision to meet the relevant parking standards applied through the statutory planning process.”