Dad’s call for better access to town hall

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A NEW dad has called for access to the town hall to be made “disability proof” after struggling to enter the building with a pram in order to register his five-day-old baby.

Ian McCutcheon says he was neither advised of access issues nor offered help to scale stairs by staff at the town hall when he reported to register the birth of newborn son Ben, with pram and baby in tow.

The council, however, has claimed that Mr McCutcheon was offered assistance – and declined – and that special access is available upon request.

But Mr McCutcheon counter-argued that access at the front of the building ought to be improved and that staff should outline access issues when an appointment is made.

“For me to go to the town hall is a one-off, and I assumed it would at least be pram-friendly and disability-friendly,” said Mr McCutcheon. “Staff should be asking if the baby is going to be with you and whether you need access or not. We had Ben in a pram, because a push chair can’t support the head and neck of a child that age. We managed, my wife Wendy and I, to carry the pram up the stairs. On exit, I had to back into a door and kick it open before going down the stairs backwards.

Mr McCutcheon called for improved access, such as that at post office branches – and the council has promised to include access details within leaflets handed out to new parents.

A council spokesman said: “Our registrar came to the entrance to meet him and his wife, held doors open and offered assistance with the pram. An offer of assistance to help them leave the building was declined. The chief registrar will endeavour to add details about access to buildings within the leaflets issued from the hospitals and midwives – for all offices.”