Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Is Solar-Powered Stair Lift 'Just Bonkers?'

That's how the president of the Dartmoor Preservation Association characterizes a plan conceived by artist Alex Murdin to make Hay Tor Rocks, a popular tourist destination within the Dartmoor National Park, accessible to people with disabilities:
A controversial plan to install a 30ft solar powered stair lift to enable disabled people to reach the top of one of Dartmoor's most popular tors has been described by a leading environmentalist as "just bonkers".

Artist Alex Murdin also wants to install a 500-metre, zig zag granite pathway from a car park to enable those in wheelchairs to reach the stairlift at Hay Tor Rocks, which is visited by thousands of people every year.

Planning permission for the scheme has been submitted to the Dartmoor National Park Authority by Mr Murdin, who is collaborating on the project with architect Nick Childs. But president of the Dartmoor Preservation Association, Kate Ashbrook, said the plan was "just bonkers" and what was being proposed was "a hideous eyesore".

As I'm also involved in disability issues at work, the response by Ms. Ashbrook is doubly offensive. I certainly understand wanting to preserve natural beauty, but if tourists are already climbing to the top of the Tor, access for people with disabilities seems only fair. The fact that Murdin envisions the lift as solar-powered creates a win-win situation in my mind. I'm guessing the Preservation Board isn't so concerned with preservation that they'd keep all tourists off the rocks...

From Yahoo! UK via Eco-Friend

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