Campaigners have held a protest in Broadstairs to highlight the continued closure of a lift which gives vital access to the town’s beaches.
Members of the campaign group, Access Thanet, demonstrated outside the lift today (August 16) waving placards and calling out “Fix our lift”. Many visitors joined in the protest.
Spokesperson Christine Tongue said: “It’s disgraceful that people in wheelchairs can’t get to our beautiful beaches. The sign on the lift says people can use the slopes on either side of the bay, but these are too steep for most wheelchairs to manage safely.”
The lift has been closed for Folk Week, the busiest time of the season for Broadstairs. The council says it is waiting for a spare part.
Christine said: “The lift is only open six months of the year. If they can delay doing anything until the end of September then they won’t have to spend any more money on it until next year. This is incredibly unfair on people with wheelchairs and families with buggies.”
The Access Thanet campaigners also claim the closed lift is damaging for tourism in the area.
Christine said: “Many visitors come here expecting there to be a lift. If they find there isn’t one they will be really disappointed and many will not come back. The area will lose much more than it will save.”
A Thanet council spokeswoman said: “We are aware that the Viking Bay lift is currently out of action and are very sorry to anyone affected by the issues we are currently experiencing. We want to reassure the public that we have been working hard with the contractor to fix this as soon as possible.
“The preparatory work has all been done but, due to its age, the lift requires a specialist part which unfortunately has a four-week lead time.
“We can only apologise to beach users for this situation.”