Disability not Inability: access to Cross Flatts Park

Anyone with mobility problems will know that our streets are littered with obstacles.

They (mostly) have a good reason to be there, they serve a purpose and cause no inconvenience – provided you are able bodied. But once you need a stick, a wheelchair or mobility scooter to get around it’s a different story.

Here’s a tale with a happy ending, I’ll let Cllr Andrew Scopes (Labour, Beeston & Holbeck) tell it:

Since being elected as a councillor, I have become increasing aware of accessibility challenges that some people face an able-bodied adult I just don’t see. I had a real eye-opening experience when I borrowed a mobility scooter back in 2021 initiated by resident Christine Smart and demonstrated to me the barriers to normal, daily, movement around the city that exist.

Getting out into our green spaces is a great way to improve health and wellbeing and combat social isolation, especially with wonderful community cafés are available, like the one at the Watsonian in Cross Flatts park.

When a local resident, Sue, got in touch with me recently to say she couldn’t access Cross Flatts Park on her mobility Scooter, I attempted to get through the frame on her scooter myself which was impossible and promptly agreed to meet with her and a couple of people from the Council’s Parks team to find a solution.

It soon became apparent that none of the usual entrances allowed her access. The team agreed to widen the ‘A’ frames so she could get into the park. Pleasingly, the got in touch the day they were doing the work and the resident was available to ensure the adjustments worked! The Parks adjusted a couple so that you could enter the park on a mobility scooter from each side.

Some concerns have been raised about whether these changes will allow motorbikes into the park, which is one of the reasons for A frames. The first point to make is our parks our for residents, so the priority has to be allowing people to use them! Secondly, and sadly, people on motorbikes get into the park anyway and so the A frames are clearly not 100% effective. The hope is they will continue to slow down motorbikes and therefore put off people from riding in the park.
I’m really encouraged by this story, how over a few weeks, the council and the public working together can make our area better!

Sue told South Leeds Life:

“I’m delighted it has been done, it means I can visit the café and accompany my husband when he walks our dog”


This postr was written by Christine Smart


While you’re here, can we ask a favour?

South Leeds Life is published by a not-for-profit social enterprise. We keep our costs as low as possible but we’ve been hit by increases in the print costs for our monthly newspaper – up 83% in the last 12 months.

Could you help support local community news by making a one off donation, or even better taking out a supporters subscription?

Donate here, or sign up for a subscription at bit.ly/SLLsubscribe

Thank you for your support