Physically impaired given beach access boost following pilot scheme

New matting has been installed at Seaton beach to help physically impaired people enjoy the beach

New matting has been installed at Seaton beach to help physically impaired people enjoy the beach - Credit: EDDC

A Seaton resident was able to enjoy the beach for the first time in a decade thanks to a new pilot scheme for the physically impaired.

A special 85-metre platform, made from Tuff Trac - a combination of plastic and aluminium - has been placed along Seaton Beach. The new path allows wheelchair and mobility scooter users to enjoy parts of the seafront which would normally be hard for them to access.

It comes as part of a joint scheme, by Seaton Town Council (STC) and East Devon District Council (EDDC), which was launched after a request from a group of residents with physical impairments.

The project came to fruition thanks to a combination in funding from EDDC, STC and Councillor Marcus Hartnell’s Devon County Council locality budget.

If the pilot is successful, EDDC intends to look into additional funding to extend the length of the path in both directions. The track is being closely monitored to ensure it is set up in the most effective way.

Seaton Mayor Councillor Amrik Singh said: “Seaton Town Council appointed Nicky Dack as its ‘Disability Champion’ to assist the town council  in making small adjustments around the town to make it more accessible for all.

"The beach matting is a great addition to the beach and complements the town’s wide accessible promenade and upcoming free Summer Beach School for local children, with one-to-one sessions available to accommodate all needs. Seaton is the town where everyone is welcome.”

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EDDC and Seaton Town councillor Dan Ledger added: “It’s great to see this pilot programme come forward.

"From Nicky's original idea to the reaffirmation of its need from the public consultation and then partnership working from all three levels of local authority to make it happen.

"It really is a story of success and working together to deliver for tangible changes for the public. Hopefully, the scheme is a great success and work can then begin on gaining funding for a further extension.”

Seaton Deputy Mayor Macrus Hartnell, said:  “Making our beach more accessible will mean that many more people can enjoy spending time during the summer with friends and family and not feel excluded.

"I’d like to thank our local disability champion Nicky Dack who suggested this idea to councillors last year and I very much look forward to working with her and others to deliver more initiatives like this that will make Seaton more accessible.”