Bristol Physical Access Chain (BPAC)

BPAC began life as a Bristol City Council (BCC) entity some 18 years ago. The 1993 Disabled Persons Act, which required local authorities and businesses to change the way they catered for people with a disability. Many local authorities introduced the role of Access Officer, Bristol’s being Eamon McClelland.

The group was made up of people with various disabilities, giving it a good understanding of the needs of various people. Training was organised and group members were taught to read plans and undertake access audits. One of BPAC’s first audits was the S. S. Great Britain, which was a great success. In the early days, the group worked mainly on public buildings, which included having a ramp put in at the rear of the central library.

BPAC have also looked at parks and gardens, including the flagship Ashton Court. Unfortunately not all the work identified at Ashton Court has been carried out, proving there is still much to do to make Bristol a fully accessible city.

The group members need to have extensive knowledge of building regulations, planning and highways. Ongoing training is therefore essential and group members are happy to undertake such training when it’s offered. BPAC’s never ending mantra is, get it right in the first place and save money later by not having to retrofit anything. Colour contrast and corridor widths are matters that designers and architects may not think of, but BPAC does.

The group has been involved with the development of many iconic Bristol buildings, from the Colston Hall to City Hall itself. Making the built environment better for Bristol’s disabled communities is BPAC’s main objective and its move to WECIL will ensure it can continue its work for many years to come.

BPAC is always looking for committed disabled people to help it carry out this very important work, so if you’re interested, come along and see how we work.

Phil Gingell

Chair – Bristol Physical Access Chain.

To get in contact with BPAC, please email: hello@wecil.co.uk, please include BPAC in the subject line.

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