Subscription Rooms

Subscription Rooms

Lansdown Hall & Gallery | 25th September 2018

Location: Subscription Rooms
George Street
Stroud
Gloucestershire, GL5 1AE

Date of visit: 25th September 2018

Parking

There are 8 public disabled parking bays for blue badge holders located at the back of the building. There is also a rear entrance where disabled performers can park right outside, there is room for 1 car here. This is great for disabled visitors to the Subscription rooms. The nearest public cark park is at Stroud train station which is about a 10-minute walk for somebody in a wheelchair. You can park here for free with a blue badge.

Accessibility

There is a ramp to the right hand-side of the building and electric doors to enter, there are then 3 steps leading to the building and a ramp to the right hand-side. Directly to the left is the tourist information centre which has ample access around the room. There reception desk was quite high with no lowered section.

The ballroom is on the first floor, standard access is up a flight of stairs. The lift is located to the left-hand side of the stairs and down a corridor which is tight but wide enough for my wheelchair, some larger chairs or scooters may find this too small.

The lift brings you out to a landing which is also the refuge point in the case of an emergency. There is an evac chair here and there are two sets of stairs that can be used to exit the building. Just through the landing is the entrance to the ballroom.

The ballroom is a large open space with large windows for natural lighting. The room can be hired out for events and performances, the stage is next to the entrance for the room and can only be accessed via some steps to the right (if looking at the stage). This makes it inaccessible for wheelchair performers.

The room can be set up for an audience of up to 400 for theatre events with chairs, wheelchairs are seated in the first 4 rows at front of the stage as this is the closest to the fire exit in the case of an emergency. Each wheelchair space replaces two standard seats. There is also a balcony area, this is typically used when a show is sold out for extra seating, however they would allow this space to be used for somebody on request if they would prefer to be away from crowds etc.

At the back of the room through a passageway is the Kendrick bar which is open throughout performances, the doorway through here is quite tight for wheelchair users. The bar is directly to the left which could cause congestion for people trying to get through to the queue and be difficult for a wheelchair user to get through. To the right-hand side of the bar is another door which takes you back to the landing and refuge point.

The dressing room is on the second floor which is accessible via the lift. I was unable to look inside the dressing room as it had been hired out privately. There was a walkway which was outlined by some tape so that the gangway was kept clear of chairs etc.

Lift

The lift is large enough for a wheelchair and for somebody to assist but not large enough to turn around in. The buttons are easy to reach and there is a lift voice communication.

Toilet

The disabled toilet is located to the right hand-side of the building on the ground floor. The toilet was very small and difficult to use for a wheelchair users. It is not very well placed with the door blocking the ladies toilet doorway when open. The facilities within the toilet are adequate with the sink, dryer and soap dispenser within reach and they were kept clean. The sign on the emergency cord is a good idea to remind people it should not be tied out of the way, I am going to be creating my own version of these to give to other venues.

Café

The café tables are all inaccessible for a wheelchair user to get underneath as they are so narrow and the bar has no lowered section.

Accessibility Rating

Physical

Three out of five

Sensory

Three out of five

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Lansdown Hall & Gallery

Lansdown Hall & Gallery

Lansdown Hall & Gallery | 25th September 2018

Location: Lansdown Hall & Gallery
Lansdown
Stroud
Gloucestershire
GL5 1BB

Date of visit: 25th September 2018

Parking

There are 5 designated disabled parking bays located outside of the Lansdown Hall, where you can park for free for 3 hours with a blue badge. However, there is no lowered kerb on either side of the road so these are no good for somebody in a wheelchair or using a walking aid.

The closest car park is Church Street Public car park, this is a short stay car park and you can park for 2 hours with a blue badge. This journey took approx. 10 minutes in a wheelchair and involves a hill which could be difficult for somebody using a manual chair or a walking aid.

I also visited the Merrywalks Shopping Centre car park which is close by, they were doing work to the car park and we couldn’t find the disabled bays.

Accessibility

Gallery

There is a ramp leading to the entrance and a bell at the door for disabled guests to ring if the door is shut. I rang the bell and somebody came to assist within seconds. There was a display at the top of the ramp which was an obstruction in the pathway for my wheelchair. Once inside the door there was a chair obstructing the pathway to the toilets.

Access within the gallery is good, there is lots of open space and lighting is bright.

For the current exhibition there was a book for people to write their comments in about the art work, this was on a tall block table and too high for somebody in a wheelchair.

Toilet – Gallery

There is a disabled toilet located at the end of the building through an archway, there is no clear signage from the gallery until you get through the archway and there is a sign which is high up and out of eyeline for a wheelchair user.

Inside the toilet is a wide spacious room with enough room to turn around in and non-slip flooring. The toilet is for right-hand transfer and there are adequate hand rails for transfer. Underneath the paper towel dispenser are two bins which make it difficult to reach for a wheelchair user. The soap dispenser, sink and toilet roll dispenser are all at adequate height.

Hall

When arriving at the main entrance to the venue which is downstairs in the gallery, there is no signage to indicate how you get upstairs to the hall if you are a wheelchair user. There are stairs to the side of the building inside but no lift, there is access to the hall for wheelchair users, but you are required to leave the venue and walk through the bank gardens which takes approx. 5 minutes. There is no signage from the ground floor explaining this route.

This takes you to the back of the building and to the second floor where you can enter through a fire exit door. This door can only be opened from the inside, so you would need to notify somebody of your arrival to ensure it is open if you are unable to use the stairs. Lansdown Hall recommend calling in advance if you have special requirements, so they can ensure to accommodate you as best as possible.

I visited when the hall was empty which is when it is used for classes etc, however they can fill it with up to 135 seats for performances. There is 1.05cms left either side of the walkway and down the middle leaving plenty of space for a wheelchair to navigate through. Wheelchair users would be place at the front of the venue and 2 seats are removed in the place of one wheelchair.

The only access to the stage is via stairs at the front or the back of the stage, making it inaccessible for performers in wheelchairs.

They do offer a hearing loop system for the deaf.

Accessibility Rating

Physical

Three out of five

Sensory

Four out of five

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Stroud Train Station

Stroud Train Station

Stroud Train Station | 29th August 2018

Location: Station Rd, Stroud GL5 3AP
Date of visit: 29th August 2018

Parking

There is a car park on either side to the train station, each side having two disabled parking bays. You can park for free here with a blue badge permit, you are required to enter your registration at the machine and get a ticket.

Accessibility

On arrival at Stroud station it is immediately obvious the accessibility issues you are faced with as a wheelchair user. It is a small train station with only 2 platforms, one either side of the station. There is a footbridge which is up a flight of stairs to take you from one platform to the other and there is no ramp or lift option. I looked around the station for some instruction on an alternative to get to the other side of the station other than the stairs, to which I could find nothing. It was only after I was informed by a member of the public that there was a noticeboard on the outside of the station with some instruction, this is located close to where taxis are stationed and is not easy to see or get to.

On this noticeboard is a map on how to get to the other side by leaving the train station and heading towards the town centre, walking under an underpass and round to the other side of the station. There are several issues I faced whilst attempting this journey:

–          Firstly, looking at the map it was not clear which side of the station I was on, a ‘you are here’ icon would be useful on the map on the noticeboard.
–          The map is not very big, it was impossible for me to read with a sight impairment. Large printed options should be provided in the station for people to take.
–          On the map it advises you to take the left-hand side pathway on Station Road, there is no dropped kerb to mount the pathway on this side making it physically impossible for most wheelchair users to use this path.
–          Travelling along the right-hand side of the pathway we were faced with a mountain of rubbish which belonged to the flats above, a member of staff from a taxi office kindly helped us to move the rubbish bags which were swarming with flies.
–          Following the map I then crossed the road along Russell street on the left hand-side, when turning onto Rowcroft I was then faced with a dead end in terms of a footpath. Forcing me to turn around to try and find another route.
–          I then travelled further along Rowcroft in the opposite direction to find a dropped kerb to cross the road safely. These roads are busy with lots of traffic, this could be quite daunting for somebody travelling alone in a wheelchair.
–          Once you reach the bottom of Rowcroft which is a long steep decline you cross the road again to travel back up a steep incline on Cheapside, this long incline could be challenging or even impossible for somebody in a manual wheelchair.

 

Accessibility

This journey took between 10-15 minutes, if you arrived at the train station unaware of these problems you’re faced with it would be easy to miss your train. Missing your planned train is more complicated as a wheelchair user than it is for a regular passenger as you need to call the assisted travel line ahead of time meaning they would be expecting you at the other end and you would also need to re-book the assisted travel for the next train you intend to board instead.

There is only one self-service ticket machine located within the station which is on platform 1, this would be inconvenient if you needed to buy a ticket from the station and travel from platform 2, this would require doing the 15-minute walk outside of the station and back again.

Ticket office opening times are as below, if you are travelling outside of these times and needed information for example on how to get to the other platform this would prove difficult. You can call the assisted travel line which is open 06:00am-11:00pm who are able to give some direction over the phone, however this is national line and not specific to Stroud so it is likely the operator will not have been to the station itself.

Day Opening Hours
Weekdays 06:00 – 18:00
Saturday 07:00 – 14:30
Sunday 09:45 – 17:00

 

There is a help point on each platform, this is placed very close to the bin on platform 1 and not very easy to get to in a wheelchair.

Toilets

There is a disabled toilet on platform 1 with a sign on the door ‘key available from ticket office staff’. Meaning the toilet is out of use when the ticket office is closed. Inside the toilet is very spacious with plenty of room to turn your wheelchair around in and for somebody to assist you. The soap, toilet roll dispenser and hand towels are too high for somebody in a wheelchair. The handrails are at an appropriate height as well as the emergency cord, the lighting was sufficient, and the hygiene level was standard.

Café

There was a café on platform 1 but this was not open when I visited. This would also be no good for passengers in a wheelchair travelling from platform 2 due to how long it would take them to get to the café.

Accessibility Rating

(one out of five stars)

https://goo.gl/maps/UTjmjpVzYkJ2

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