Exmouth could lead the way with beach wheelchairs for disabled residents and visitors

Exmouth could become the first place in East Devon to offer beach wheelchairs to disabled residents and visitors.

A campaigning councillor last night (Monday) won the unanimous backing of her colleagues to explore ways of securing the specialist items for the town.

Pauline Stott says the mobility aids will allow people who are currently unable to enjoy the resort’s sands and sea to access them – possibly for the first time.

Her idea was praised as ‘superb’ and ‘excellent’ when it was wholeheartedly supported by Exmouth Town Council.

Many members said their constituents had been clamouring for the items for some time already.

Councillor Stott said there are wheelchairs for adults and children which are suitable for beaches or going into the sea.

She added: “There’s none of them in East Devon – none at all.

“The nearest one is Lyme Regis or Saunton Sands…Cornwall got loads because of the EU.

“A place the size of Exmouth definitely should have some of these.

“I’m sure we can move this forward and hopefully have it in place by next year.”

Cllr Bruce De Saram said: “It’s great to know accessibility on the sand and in the waves is now being taken seriously by Exmouth Town Council.”

He said the bid would boost ‘our many visitors and members of the community with disabilities’, adding: “Sand and wheels don’t mix.

“Whenever you push a wheelchair [on the beach]you end up feeling you should give up because you get stuck or the person pushing you collapses through exhaustion.”

Cllr Paul Millar said: “I’ve had a couple of constituents contact me on social media to suggest it already.

“I’m delighted you’ve brought it forward so quickly and I really think it’s something the town council should prioritise.”

Cllr Fred Caygill suggested crowdfunding as a possible source of money.

Cllr Stott won the unanimous go-ahead to research the cost of acquiring the beach wheelchairs and to explore storage, hiring capabilities and funding opportunities to help deliver the project.

She will report back to the council.

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