City Hall in disabled access move

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FURTHER improvements have been made to disabled access to Sheffield City Hall after a wheelchair-using concert-goer sought legal advice.

Michelle Turner said a concert by singer Eddi Reader (pictured) in the Memorial Hall, at the back of the main hall, was spoiled for her by access difficulties.

She qualified for legal aid and Sheffield Law Centre helped to put a case under the Equality Act. Now further improvements have been made at the venue without the need for any legal action.

Mobility needs are identified when tickets are sold and there is better signage and access to the toilets.

Michelle, aged 46, who lives in Sharrow, said the City Hall had responded positively.

She added: “I’m also really glad I could get legal aid to find out the legal position.

“The way Sheffield Law Centre put my case meant that the City Hall management understood my problem and addressed it. I am glad it has meant I don’t have to start legal proceedings.”

City Hall general manager Richard Hunter said: “When areas are pointed out that we could do better in, we look at it and make the changes if at all possible.

“In this circumstance I’d like to think that we have managed to act to improve the customer experience for all people with access issues to the City Hall.”

Douglas Johnson, of Sheffield Law Centre, said: We were able to help Michelle because she qualified for legal aid. We have developed a much-needed service in discrimination law because of funding from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

“This has now been cut and legal aid is under threat.”

He added: “With a small amount of legal aid funding, we helped Michelle achieve a result that will also benefit many other visitors to the City Hall, whether disabled or not, and have enabled the City Hall management to improve their service at minimal cost.

“Having the right advice meant that legal proceedings could be avoided.”