Destination Access Audit of Brighton centre and seafront
The Disability Discrimination Act has focused attention on access in a way never known before. As a result, many organisations and businesses are making or planning access improvements to their establishments – these include visitor attractions, visitor accommodation, cultural venues, eating places and shops.
The effectiveness of such investment may be undermined by a failure to address access problems in the near environment – the ability to move between venues, the lack of suitable parking and toilets, etc. Investment will also be undermined if there is lack of choice – choice of accessible places to eat, to stay, to visit, to browse and shop. The success of a destination is conditional on there being choice to cater for visitor expectations and visitor enjoyment. Residents will also benefit in equal measure from investment by the tourism industry to increase accessibility.
A detailed access audit of the city centre was carried out in partnership with Tourism South East. The audit aimed to maximise tourism industry investment.
The main aims of the audit were as follows:
- to assess the ability of disabled visitors to experience and enjoy the full range of visitor facilities at the destination, whether day visit or staying overnight
- to identify the major barriers, physical or otherwise, experienced by disabled visitors that prevent their full enjoyment of the destination's visitor facilities
- to identify opportunities to improve visitor accessibility through changes to physical features - their alteration or alternative service provision; the provision of auxiliary aids and services; alternative methods of service delivery and new access routes; policies, procedures and practices carried-out by tourism providers that may be discriminatory or impede accessibility and enjoyment.
- to identify the benefits of and need for co-ordinated access improvement
- to provide a template and methodology for other destinations to use - a good practice document
The audit report enables Brighton & Hove City Council to plan access improvements into their development plans and enables Brighton & Hove’s tourism businesses to plan and invest in accessible facilities with greater confidence. Equally important and a driving force behind this project for Tourism South East and SEEDA is to provide other destinations with a template they can follow to create tourism for all.