Lift at Harborough Council HQ is too small

The main lift at the £5.75m revamped Harborough Council offices has been found to be too small for some wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

The district council reopened its new The Symington Building HQ in January after extensive refurbishment and the lift is needed for disabled people to access the county council-run library and museum which are on the first floor.

The issue was first highlighted in a recent letter to the Mail by reader Vivien Window, who said: “I am amazed that no-one considered a large lift was a necessity in our most important public building.”

In a joint statement issued by the district and county councils, they said: “Full consideration was given to all issues around access when first discussing plans to re-develop within the confines of a listed building.

“Consultations were held with a range of users, including accessibility groups, which helped inform us on how access arrangements should work.

“The building’s second, and larger lift is freely available when customer services is open, with an escorted service when customer services is closed on Saturdays.

“We will continue to work closely on any access issues which arise as we want to encourage as many people as possible to visit.”

But district councillor Phil Knolwes said: “There is another lift but it us only accessible with escorted assistance.

“And thereby is another issue. The other day a lady needed assistance to get to the library to return a DVD.

“She waited so long for someone to help that she simply left it with the concierge on the ground floor and left.

“The council needs a well-practiced, well-advertised escorted system that does not disenfranchise any if our residents.”