Haverhill Town Council: disabled discrimination update

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Reposted this report as further updates on this case has just become
available. It looks like new rulings may be about to be created in
previously unknown territory concerning local authorities and disabled

Source: Haverhill Weekly News
Date: 8 June 2006


DISABLED pensioner Joyce Jones is determined to pursue a compliant of
discrimination against her local council even though she is receiving
treatment for lung cancer.

Mrs Jones, 69, complained to Haverhill Town Council about her treatment
when she attended a performance at Haverhill Arts Centre last December.

After failing to get an apology from the council she referred the
matter to the Disability Rights Commission and is waiting to see
whether it will go to court.

Members of the town council went into private session to discuss the
referral at their meeting on Tuesday night and decided not to try and
resolve the matter by using the Independent Disability Conciliation
Service but to see whether the matter is taken to court.

Gordon Mussett, town clerk, said that everyone voted in favour of this
except for Coun Mick Graham, who opposed it.

Councillors did not believe anything had been done to breach the
relevant legislation and that every effort had been made to accommodate
Mrs Jones's needs. All the correspondence on the issue had been sent
as requested to the Disability Rights Commission, which said it had not
yet formed an opinion on the case.

Mrs Jones, who lives at Sherman Court, Haverhill, complained when she
was not able to sit where she had expected at front of the hall.
Instead her wheelchair was pushed into a gap where she felt trapped.
When she complained she was moved so close to the orchestra that the
noise was deafening.

She left before the end of the performance because she was so upset at
her treatment.

"I don't know what is going to happen, but they are not going to
get away with it. I was treated like a second-class citizen and that is

"All they had to do at the start was to apologise but they did not
want to do that so they must face the consequences. It is not just for
me, I don't want anyone else to be treated as I was." Mrs Jones

Coun Mick Graham said he believed the council could be faced with an
expensive legal battle, when all that was needed was an apology.

He said: "I think it is disgraceful how this council has acted and it
should have been handled differently from the start."
"I don't think this should have been done behind closed doors, it
should have been in the open."