AN ACCESS improvement scheme for disabled people has been launched at Chester's Guildhall.
Chester City Council and the Freemen and Guilds of the City of Chester have been working in partnership for more than two years to develop an innovative design solution and funding package for the scheme, providing independent wheelchair access to the front entrance of the historic building in Watergate Street.
The scheme has cost £46,000 to implement, with £23,000 of Landfill Tax credit funding from Waste Recycling Group Ltd, administered by WREN, being matched by Chester City Council.
Keith Preece, President of the Freemen and Guilds, said: 'I would like to put on record the Freemen and Guilds' sincere gratitude to WREN and Chester City Council for their financial contributions.
'I would also like to pay tribute to the late city councillor Jean Nuttall, who was an active member of the Guilds and a driving force in getting this access improvement scheme off the drawing board.'
Councillor Mia Jones, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: 'The access improvement scheme at the
Guildhall shows how historically and architecturally important buildings can be upgraded to meet the access needs of disabled people.
'It is an excellent example of how buildings can be adapted to meet the legal obligations of the Disability Discrimination Act.'
Richard Smith from WREN said: 'I am pleased that WREN has been able to make a significant financial contribution to enable disabled people and in particular wheelchair users to access and use the principal entrance of the Guildhall for the first time.
'The access scheme will also be of tremendous benefit to parents with buggies.'
Councillor John Price, chairman of the Chester Access Group, said: 'This is another example of Chester's commitment to improve the quality of life and independence of disabled people.
'I would like to say a big thank you to WREN, the Freemen and Guilds and the city council for their joint endeavours.'
The Guildhall is a Grade II Listed building completed in 1869 and designed by Chester architect James Harrison. Since the late 1960s it has been the base for the Freemen and Guilds of the City of Chester.
The Guildhall is also used for public and community activities such as antique fairs, wedding receptions, parties and meetings of local organisations.