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Row over council plans to spend money for disabled on windows

Cash earmarked for disabled facilities in Thanet is instead being spent on new windows for the council’s Cecil Square headquarters.

Councillors have agreed to transfer £132,000 of funding set aside for Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) works to pay for the new double glazing.

A spokesperson for the council insisted that all of its operational buildings are compliant with DDA legislation and that the money was surplus to requirements.

However, the decision has been described as 'shocking’ by the leader of Thanet Labour Group, Cllr Richard Nicholson , who accused the Tory administration of “taking from the disabled”.

He said: “Whilst what the council has done isn’t illegal, my colleagues and I think it is immoral.

“It seems life will be more cosy for officers whereas disabled residents will be getting nothing.

“Staff deserve good working conditions but the council shouldn’t be taking anything from the disabled.

“Nothing has been done at Albion House or Westgate Pavilion and the hoist at Ramsgate swimming pool, which helps disabled people in and out of the water, has been broken for many months.

“We’re constantly told there is no money yet the council is spending all this money on new double glazing windows.”

The cost of ensuring Westgate Pavilion is compliant with the DDA is estimated at around £100,000.

However, when a public meeting about the future of the building was held earlier this year, Thanet council said it did not have enough money to fund improvement works.

A council spokseperson said: “The DDA funding was for major capital projects, such as installing lifts and ramps.

“Other projects, such as repairing the hoist at Ramsgate swimming pool, would come out of an ordinary repairs fund, which is unaffected.”

The DDA entitles disabled people to certain rights in the areas of employment, education and access to facilities and services.

It requires public bodies to promote equal opportunities for disabled people and ensures that they are able to use public transport easily.

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