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Council under fire over delays in putting in library lift

Roz Smith struggles to get a pushchair with her grandaughter Mollie-May Merritt

Roz Smith struggles to get a pushchair with her grandaughter Mollie-May Merritt

First published in Headlines Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

LIBRARY users in Oxford have hit out at Oxfordshire County Council for failing to provide better access to the building.

People who visit Headington Library have to walk up steep steps to access it, which makes it difficult for disabled people or those with prams.

The county council has had planning permission to build disabled access for the library in Grade II listed Bury Knowle House since 2009.

But three years later, no work has been carried out.

Gwynneth Pedler, of disability group Oxfordshire Unlimited, said: “Action needs to be taken. Libraries are important community facilities.

“Oxford cannot be considered a completely accessible city when an ordinary thing like a library is inaccessible to the disabled.”

The county council gave itself planning permission to provide wheelchair access to the rear of the building in July 2009.

This would include a lift, a disabled toilet and a new door into the library.

In April the council renewed the planning permission to give itself another three years to carry out the work.

The council admits the building does not meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

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Barton and Churchill county councillor Roz Smith struggles to take her grandchildren to the library.

She said: “We have been trying to highlight this fact for a while. It is a beautiful building but with no disabled access.

“At least with my pushchair I can leave it outside. It is worse for the disabled.”

The building has been owned by Oxford City Council since 1930 but the county council rents the library space.

County spokesman Martin Crabtree said it remained committed to providing disabled access.

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