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Councillors unanimously agreed to start a pilot project to look at how the shopping experience of disabled visitors to Basildon town centre can be improved to make it ‘purple friendly’ and inclusive to all.
Basildon Council’s Housing and Communities Committee agreed to fund the development and test phase of the Inclusive Basildon Borough Project to get an understanding of what realistic improvements and adjustments can be made and to start engagement with retailers and visitors to the town centre.
As well as surveys and engagement, this first phase aims to include access audits across Basildon town centre around the shopping experience and car parking. It will also support the development of an ‘Inclusive accreditation scheme’ for retailers and local businesses.
Councillor Kerry Smith, Basildon Council’s Chairman of Housing and Communities Committee, said: “When two friends arrange to meet up for a coffee and one of them has a disability – it shouldn’t be a military operation to work out where in the town centre they can get to easily or park – it should be as simple as deciding which coffee shop and what day and time.
“I would like to think that we are one of the first council’s in the country to look at integrating inclusive design into everything we do and being purple friendly in our town centres all year round and I thank councillors on my Committee for supporting this cross-party.
“We are currently in the midst of a consultation on the Basildon Town Centre Masterplan so there isn’t a better time to start work on making sure its future is inclusive”.
You can see what is on the agenda at upcoming committee meetings at www.basildon.gov.uk/meetings