Richard Dawson, chartered architect based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, providing architectural services and project management.

Access Association visit the new Leeds Arena – before Bruce Springsteen!


R Dawson Architect was delighted to have a private tour of the new Leeds arena along with other members of the Access Association.

Richard has been a member of the Access Association for over four years and recently involved as their National Northern representative. The access association aims to improve access and facilities for disabled people and consequently for all people who would benefit from an accessible environment.

Richard attended the annual meeting of the Access Association, Northern Region in Leeds yesterday (19.6.13).  The initial meeting was in the Leeds City Museum, before having a tour of the new Leeds Arena (even before Bruce Springsteen!)

Members including access auditors, NRAC consultants and access officers were joined by Leeds Building Control and project managers, with a representative from the Leeds School of Law with her guide dog for a tour of the new Arena.  The group were invited by SMG (to check) to offer comments in relation to access issues which the Arena could take on board.  The private viewing was a coup for the group.  The management said they had taken over the arena and were currently fitting in out principally as a music venue.

Question and observations were raised about access into the auditorium (via a dedicated entrance and lift), the provision of seating for the disabled (280 spaces approx10% of the total seating possible), height and flexibility of chairs, level platform provision, spaces for wheelchairs and helpers and family groups, toilet facilities including ambulant disabled WCs with rails, (a changing rooms facility has been provided), movement in and around the arena including wayfinding, colour contrast and evacuation techniques, chairs and strategy.  Ailsa, project manager and Ben Williams, manager for the consortium explained how the building will work with excellent sight lines as all seats are ‘wrapped’ around and close to stage, acoustics and with various promoters requirements for franchises and

If anyone, particularly the owners or managers of buildings, is interested in access issues or concerned about the use by disabled persons in their building, contact Richard on 01274 512808 who may be able to help or visit the Association’s website for information on access and disability issues.

The next regional access group will meet at the RNIB offices, Leeds on 19th September.


rad 19.6.13

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