Monday 9 March 2009

Hitches and problems

If you were a beer fanatic and had a fiancee that also liked beer what better place to get wedded than a real ale pub? Perhaps, if it were a brew pub you could commission a special nuptials ale for the occasion. A good friend of ours had this very same idea and approached us with the idea of registering our Inn for such events. We'll, give it a go we thought, after all it might get us some extra trade. I was apprehensive though as there was bound to be some procedural legislation driven bureaucratic problem, as there generally is with these licensing people. Undeterred we progressed with the application, paid the £915 fee, and awaited the inspection of the property, which was scheduled for today.

The appointment arrived and the very nice lady loved the location and the proposed rooms. She was really keen to see us get a successful application. But then came the question: "Where are your disabled toilets?". Uh oh! Well...we don't...sort of....really have any. "What about wheelchair access?"...Nope. Apparently, if we are not Disability Discrimination Act compliant we might well have the whole idea thrown out.

I agree with the DDA principles. Something that goes along the line of disabled people have the right to an independent and dignified way of joining in with life as if able bodied. Fantastic. If a disabled person came to my pub I would bend over backwards to provide what I could for them and attempt to preserve their dignity as best I can. However, I have a roof to replace soon which will cost around £40,000. This is a more important spend than the likely modification costs of around £20,000 to this 475 year old building required to comply with the DDA.

In the 5 years we've been here wheelchair users have spent around £20 in this Inn. We are in the middle of the mountains, they don't come here. It would be a bit like providing facilities for elephants at the South pole, because they would have the right to be there. So, the result of this particular piece of legislation is that a nice little wheeze, that might help to give this Inn a little more life and provide people with an interesting place to get hitched might get stopped by bureaucrats.

Lets hope not.


Alistair Reece said...

You really do have to love English wedding law and it's insane obsession with where you get married. Now if only those south of the border had the sense to learn from Scots law, things would be much better (actually if you just handed over all of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to the Scots, the world would be a generally more sensible place! ;) ).

Under Scots law, the place of marriage is entirely irrelevant, rather it is the person officiating that is the key. As long as the officiant is legally registered then you can get married wherever you feel like - my wee brother got hitched on one of the beaches back on Benbecula.

I do however agree in principle with providing facilities for the disable, but there has to be some discretion, businesses know their clientele and you can only provide for your regular customers, not every Tom, Dick or Harry that may possibly one day visit the pub. In your situation, it is a pity there aren't grants available to comply with this legislation.

Unknown said...

Yes, I think that's one thing Scotland got right. Actually, there are lots of good things in Scotland plus I don't remember any of this nonsense about unsparkled beer when I’ve been.

Pity you can't get snow in Glencoe right - that's why my knee is sore...

I also agree with providing facilitates for the disabled where practical, reasonable and justifiable. Here we fail on all three criteria.

Tandleman said...

As I recall the DDA is about reasonable adjustment. If you can show that you have done that, all should be well.

How would a wheelchair user get a pee in your place?

Of course the sensible thing would be to advertise as unsuitable for those with a walking disability, but I've no idea if that would be wrong or not. Too many bloody rules in this country generally.

Unknown said...

I'm hoping the "reasonable adjustment" argument is going to help us win the day. There are one or two reasonable adjustments that need to be made and I have no problem with that. The lady who visited was extremely helpful in seeking a sensible resolution, which will I hope be within the spirit of the legislation. But she could not tick the DDA compliant box and the reasonable adjustments we will make will still not archive compliance.

Currently wheelchair users would require assistance, but as I say the situation has occurred twice in 5 years. The roof leaks every time it rains, which is quite often in the Lakes. I think it is reasonable for me to worry about fixing the roof first.

Unknown said...

Update: We've just had a phone call, apparently the reasonable steps that were agreed with the nice lady yesterday have been approved.

Now we just need to take the steps, or is that ramps?. It'll still cost us a few hundred pounds though.

Good news non the less.

Tandleman said...

Hooray for common sense.

Alistair Reece said...

Common sense prevails!

Sat In A Pub said...


Good news. I was going to say, don't worry too much. I've been involved with the DDA and local pubs on a number of occasions and the "reasonable adjustment" clause has always won the day.

Mark Dredge said...

I was briefly saddened by your story but the comments reveal a happy ending! nice one!