CORNWALL Council is withholding payment to Cormac for its work installing the pay barriers at toilets in Falmouth because it was “wrong.”
Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Liberal Democrat portfolio holder for environment, heritage and planning, said she was withholding the payment from her budget for the work at the Prince of Wales Pier.
“Cormac did not take into account that the width was reduced making it inaccessible for disabled people,” she said.
“I’m not paying for that because it is wrong, completely wrong.”
Cormac is also withholding payment from its contractors, according to the councillor.
“You expect an expert to be able do it correctly and they didn’t so we’re not paying for it,” she said.
“They should never have done it. I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
In an e-mail to disability campaigner David Culling, Ms Hannaford also said she was launching an investigation into the issue.
“I also asked for an investigation into why the contractors, Cormac, in the case of Prince of Wales Pier toilet, did not ensure it was compliant despite giving reassurances to the environment service that they did comply.”
Ms Hannaford said the review of “all provision” was expected to be completed on FridayDec 13.
A joint statement from Cornwall Council and Cormac said: “The council is ultimately responsible for any works undertaken on sites in its ownership.
“In order to help keep open as many facilities as possible, charging has been introduced at some sites.
“The council engaged Cormac who have used a specialist contractor to undertake works on site.
“The council responded to questions from Disability Cornwall by taking an early decision to remove the charging mechanism at the Prince of Wales Pier.
“At this point the council and Cormac are seeking clarification from the contractor and have offered to set up a meeting with Disability Cornwall to understand and respond to any other issues that they may wish to raise.”
Ms Hannaford said: “I can confirm payment is being withheld as the POW Pier was not compliant with equality legislation therefore it was removed.”
Disability campaigners claimed a victory two weeks ago after Cornwall Council made a U-turn over the pay barriers.
The barriers were installed in July, charging users 20p.
Disabled campaigners David and Sarah Culling told Cornwall Council the gates were not compliant with disabled access regulations in July, asking for them to be removed.
In August Cornwall Council said the barriers met legal requirements and would not be removed.
But two weeks ago, it removed the barriers after admitting that “some users of the facilities do not have the same access as they did before.”