‘Distress’ over lack of disabled access at Gobbins path

The tubular bridge at the Gobbins as it appeared in the early 1900s. INLT 02-802-CON
The tubular bridge at the Gobbins as it appeared in the early 1900s. INLT 02-802-CON

A Mid and East Antrim councillor has voiced concerns about the lack of disabled access at the Gobbins cliff path.

The tourist attraction, which is set to be completed next month, will be the jewl in Larne Borough Council’s crown.

But during a recent visit to the Gobbins, Ballymena TUV Councillor Donna Anderson said she was “distressed to note the scarcity of provision for people with disabilities”.

She added: “While it is welcome that the path is at long last open to the public again, as an elected representative and as a mother of a disabled child I would like to see a facility which is welcoming to all.”

While Cllr Anderson conceded that the cliff path is not likely to ever be accessible to wheelchair users due to the nature of the terrain, she felt provision should be made to include disabled people in some capacity.

She added: “At many other outdoor attractions which are not easily accessible to the disabled there is often a live web feed so that they can enjoy some of the key sites and appreciate the local wildlife. I would like to see similar provision at the Gobbins Path and wrote to Larne Borough Council to inquire what plans there are to introduce facilities of this nature.

“I am distressed to discover that the original economic appraisal made no mention of provision for any possibility for web camera services and that this option appears to only now being considered after I raised concerns and that finance has not been found for it.

“I believe that this issue should have been considered from the outset of the project and failure to do so was a major oversight.

“It would make the site more welcoming to entire families who may be put off by the thought that one or more of their number may not benefit from a visit due to the lack of facilities for the disabled,” Cllr Anderson concluded.