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‘Arduous and dangerous’ walk excluding disabled people from visiting Newstead Abbey

Anyone who catches the bus to the historic former home of Lord Byron is faced with a two-mile round trip from the bus stop to the abbey itself.

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The leader of a disability support charity says a vast number of disabled visitors are being excluded from Newstead Abbey due to poor accessibility.

Anyone who catches the bus to the historic former home of Lord Byron is faced with a two-mile round trip from the bus stop to the abbey itself.

Currently the only way to reach the abbey from its gates is to either walk or drive along a 1.3 mile-long track.

Newstead Abbey
IMAGE: Gedling Eye
PICTURED: The Abbey at one time was home to world-famous poet Lord Byron (PHOTO: British Library)

For those who do not have access to a car, or cannot pay for a taxi, their only option to visit the site is via public transport, which terminates at the abbey gates.

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During Full Council on July 10, a Nottingham resident raised the issue and said the walk can be “arduous and dangerous” for people living with mobility problems.

Charlotte Throssel, who runs the Disability Support charity, agreed and said access to the site is a problem.

“To make things more accessible would increase revenue,” she told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“Taxis would cost a fortune out there and not everyone has access to a car.

“It is excluding people and it is cutting off a potential revenue stream for the council.”

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She further suggested the council could make mobility carts or wheelchairs available at the gates for people to use and, while the council would be hit with a cost initially, it would pay off in the long run.

Newstead Abbey dates back as far as the 12th century and was home to the poet Lord Byron from 1808-1814.

Today it is open to the public and managed by Nottingham City Council’s museums and galleries service, alongside Nottingham Castle and Wollaton Hall.

In response to the concerns raised during the meeting, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis (Lab), who oversees the site, said there may be an opportunity to utilise vehicles similar to Nottingham Castle’s land train at Newstead Abbey in the future, subject to funding.

“As part of the redevelopment of Nottingham Castle the project was able to acquire the land train,” he said.

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“To date we do not have plans or funding to purchase similar vehicles for Newstead Abbey and Wollaton Hall, this is all subject to funding I am afraid.

“As we include new operation of the land train at the castle and better understand its usage and limitations, this might be something that in the future we want to expand to other sites.

“We obviously have to have a business case for this and look at practicalities and cost effective operations, but this is something we are looking at.

“For some I do appreciate the walk from the bus stop to the Abbey is a long one and I will ask for options in the short term that might be able to be used for people with mobility issues in particular.”

Under newly-released proposals the council is also looking to get planning permission to expand the abbey’s toilets into the staff offices to increase their size and make them more accessible for those using wheelchairs and pushchairs.

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