Olympic accommodation prevent disabled going to Hainault Forest

Disabled people have been suffering since Olympic security staff moved into a historic country park, claims one park-goer.

Anita Gentry believes more could have been done to prevent disabled people and those who are less mobile from being adversely affected while Hainault Forest Country Park, Romford Road, Hainault, is occupied by Snoozebox, which is housing security and military personnel.

She said: “The security team basing themselves at the forest seem to be taking up all the walking areas, access to toilets and caf�, so disabled people have a long walk to reach these places, if they can reach them at all.

“I have had three hip replacements and now walk with a stick. I used to visit the park regularly, but it is now very difficult for me to enjoy my time there.”

The main car park is out of use while the 4,000-bed hotel is in place and the temporary one has no bays for disabled visitors.

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Mrs Gentry suggested that temporary parking bays for blue badge holders could have been introduced.

The Romford resident added: “The far car park which can be used by visitors is so far away and where people used to walk there is now a big trench.

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‘Very difficult’

“This is deterring so many people I know from going to the park this summer. They have made it very difficult for those who cannot walk easily.”

A council spokesman said there were no “viable areas” for disabled parking bays to be positioned, all options having been considered.

She added: “There is an accessible path from the car park to the cafe and disabled toilets and parking bays in the main car park for disabled access.

“We haven’t had any inquiries from users with regard to access problems.”

The council will receive a fee of �650,000 from Snoozebox. It has not yet been decided how this will be spent but some will be reinvested in improvements at the park.

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