To: South Lakeland District Council
Stop SLDC in Kendal from Discriminating against the Disabled
Reverse their decision to stop allowing taxi's and cars dropping off outside the Unitarian Chapel on the hill coming down from Kendal Market Place. This is preventing many essential drop off's for disabled members of the congregation and those of ill health from being granted access to their regular place of worship. The council is in breach of Disability Discrimination Laws, the Equality Act, The Human Rights Act and the failing their Public Sector Equality Duty.
It also prevents many people being able to attend an array of clubs and events held at the Church hall too such as Knit and Natter, Coffee Mornings, Drumming Group, Prayer Groups to name but a few, therefore having a severe impact on the quality of life and daily lives of those with disabilities, their carers and those with ill health. Many of the Church paid members are impacted and their rights and freedoms have been completely discounted by the council in their local planning to make Kendal Market Place a Cafe Culture environment.
Why is this important?
The council are completely failing to uphold their obligations to those with disabilities and protected characteristics by infringing their right to practice their religion and faith, access to and use of goods, facilities and services, including access to public buildings, shops and leisure facilities and to healthcare, housing and transport, membership of private clubs and use of their facilities.
The council has a duty as well as the general rules against subjecting people with disabilities to disability discrimination, most public authorities are under two other duties to promote equality of opportunity for people with disabilities, amongst others. They are also legally required to have due regard to:
* promote equality of opportunity between people with a disability and people without (Section 75)
* promote positive attitudes towards people with a disability (Section 49A)
* encourage the participation of people with a disability in public life (Section 49A)
The plans to change the use of area are enforcing completely unfair restrictions and alternatives that are indirectly and directly discriminating against those with Disabilities as they will allow Hirsts and Market Trader traffic to use it but no longer allow access to those who need dropping off outside the door. Some have incredibly heavy and large electric wheelchairs, some that have failed to work in recent months and have required pushing. The councils 'reasonable adjustments' of enforcing that the disabled people must be dropped off at the bottom of the hill and make their way up there is a disgrace. It is a steep and challenging hill for the more able-bodied, let alone those in wheelchairs or their carers.
They have already been unfairly restricted by having a very narrow time limit enforced for blue badge parking in the town only between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm which automatically impacts their ability to attend groups and appointments. The council is causing so much disruption with their plans for changing Kendal's town center which is already negatively affecting shops, shoppers and services and now religious freedom and Disability rights, completely disregarding their legal obligations.
The Unitarian Chapel has already spent the last few years heavily investing in a new sensory garden and environmental space which is in the process of being rolled out. A large part of this has been to make the Garden space relaxing tranquility for all and have made the plans wheelchair friendly. The council's decisions are not only affecting those who currently attend the Chapel but those new visitors or residents who will be welcomed to spend time in and use the sensory garden in the future.
Please sign this petition in support of our Disabled brothers and sisters and stop the infringement of laws and rights that are designed to uphold everyone's rights and ability to access services, groups, and places of worship.