Disabled pensioner slams access to lagoon

Sean McShane is calling for better disabled access to Widewater Lagoon in Lancing
Sean McShane is calling for better disabled access to Widewater Lagoon in Lancing

A DISABLED man and his family are calling for a nature reserve to be made more accessible for wheelchairs, buggies, and mobility scooters.

Sean McShane, 78, and his wife Lynda, 65, of West Way in Lancing, are starting a campaign to improve access to Widewater Lagoon.

Lynda says it takes her husband Sean more than an hour to get there and back because access via the steps opposite the West Beach estate is impossible for those relying on wheels to get around.

Sean, who uses a mobility scooter, is forced to go either all the way to Shoreham Beach or to Beach Green in Lancing to get to the reserve, a 70-minute round trip.

District councillor for Widewater ward Geoff Patmore said action was long overdue.

“You can see that the gradient is not steep and due to the width should accommodate a zigzag easily,” said Mr Patmore.

“There can be no excuses and disabled access should be prioritised as long overdue,”

Mr Patmore said installing a ramp would enhance access to the important nature reserve.

Lynda said she and Sean had used the entrance on Brighton Road for years until Sean had become reliant on a mobility scooter.

She said many people she had spoken to agreed that access was a big problem, and many had simply stopped going there as a result.

“I think it’s so sad because the reason you move somewhere like this is because you are close to the beach,” she said.

Sean said he was frustrated by having to travel so far to get to the lagoon, especially along Brighton Road, which has been blighted by roadworks in recent months, forcing him onto the road with oncoming traffic at times.

“Getting across there was a nice day out for me,” he said.

“But now, for people like me, the steps are a big hindrance, and I’m not on my own.”

County councillor for Saltings ward Mick Clark said he supported the idea and was investigating to see if anything could be done to solve the problem.

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