Aylesbury, the spiritual home of the Paralympics, has been criticised for letting down the disabled with insufficient access being provided at events and facilities.
Dozens of disabled people had to miss out on this year’s Proms in the Park after organisers at Aylesbury Town Council refused to fork out extra money for a ‘track way’ to make access easier for those using walking sticks and wheelchairs.
Bucks Disability Service is currently working with Aqua Vale leisure centre to improve its disabled access since the refurb this year.
It is also helping the National Trust work on access to the Kings Head pub and the tourist information office in the town centre, as the cobbled streets can cause difficulties.
Around 30 people could not gain access to the Proms earlier this month as the walk way had not been provided.
This was because it had not been budgeted for and was not necessary in previous years, says community officer at the town council, Alan Norchi.
But access must be improved if the town is to be taken seriously as the home of the Paralympics, says trustee at Bucks Disability Service, Andrew Clark.
Mr Clark said: “Providing access for the disabled isn’t an option– it should be provided as standard.
“We cannot expect to host the Paralympic flame every two years if we can’t provide adequate access for the disabled.
“If people are serious about the Vale being the home of the Paralympics, they need to be serious about the disabled.
“It’s really all about looking at things in a new way – we’re not in the blame game. We just want people to use this as a learning curve.”
Mr Clark added that Bucks County Council’s 2012 team and Aylesbury Vale District Council should be commended for their efforts, when appropriate access was provided, allowing 400 disabled people to enjoy the Paralympic Flame Festival held at the stadium on July 29.
“There’s a lot more disabled people out there than people think,” he said.
“A record number of people turned up because it was advertised as having access. It’s all about confidence.”
Aylesbury Town Council said that while disabled access for Proms in the Park had not been provided previously, it is a good idea and will be considered for the future.