The most passive-aggressive wheelchair ramp in Britain

not to give any free pass here, but perhaps he meant these kinds of people with this kind of attitude


I don’t suspect that the power bill is the problem, unless the whole mess is monstrously inefficient, lifting 1-200kg, maybe, up and down a few times a day isn’t a terribly demanding task. The trouble is that moving parts, especially moving parts that also have electrical components and switches and fiddly little bits that need to be kept lubricated and whatnot, mean maintenance requirements. For Large structures(like bridges) even purely passive steel still needs considerable attention; but for small scale stuff anything you coat to resist rust can probably be ignored for a decade or more, sometimes well more, and still be fine unless somebody smashes it.

You want a wheelchair ramp? HERE’s your fucking wheelchair ramp. Ra ha ha ha ha!

although I agree with the general sentiment, the government has the permission to use tax money helping people with disabilities, but should also have the responsibility to check if said people rightly receive money or other benefits. And I come from a country that till recently no check was done, so in a variety of cases, whole villages where found to be deaf, blind or with other disabilities, depending on the doctor making the assessments…

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Member of West Dunbartonshire council (archival picture)

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There’s the part I don’t get. It sounds like they would have been happy to move into a ground-floor apartment. In fact, for the price of that ramp, the council could have hired professional movers… ten or twenty times.

In America we call this a pissing contest.


The solution seems obvious. Catapult for entering the house, zip line for exiting.

It’s possible there simply isn’t a ground level apartment available. Unless I’m mistaken, this is long term housing with a low level of turnover. Even then, something could possibly be worked out if a ground level tenant was also willing to move.


With 40,000 pounds to play with I suspect they could have managed to induce someone with an accessible public housing unit to swap.


I’m struck by the contrast to a Senior Cohousing neighborhood in Denmark, where the members built half the homes up flights of stairs, not an obvious design choice for a population of elders with a high probability of mobility challenges later in life, but the best available arrangement given their budgets and land costs – they needed the density that provided.

The secret ingredient that made this work? An advance agreement among the future residents who participated in the design that if they had a downstairs unit and somone upstairs developed a permanent mobility challenge, they would swap.Plus, a set of shared ground-level guest rooms in the Common House to serve people with temporary challenges with stairs.

Utopia? Not hardly. An option to people without choice in their lives? Perhaps not. And not the kind of compromise possible in an environment where a government with responsibility to provide a service can force people into sub-standard housing that doesn’t meet people’s basic needs. But I like how it is a creative solution that shows how a change in the nature of how we relate can add options and help people maintain their independence – by interdependence.

This is the type of approach I just got re-engaged with a bunch at the Positive Aging conference in Sarasota, Florida this week.


Of course one presumes that it would have been vastly cheaper and simpler to put them in a house that WASN’T several flights of steps above street level. Surely not EVERY council house is like that.

Other secret ingredient: apparent non-contempt for the occupants. Had the project been planned under the condition that ‘we need to warehouse useless old people until they can finally die’, I’m guessing that even considerable talent in architecture and civic design probably wouldn’t have saved it.


Well, that escalated quickly…
(I’m so sorry, I had to)


Yeah I think the law is something like nothing more than a 1 in 12 gradient must be used for wheel chair access. Which this looks like it is. Looks awful and expensive and looks like it’ll take about 20 minutes to navigate. But it’s legal. It was probably delayed so long because the solution is a nightmare. Plan B would have been dig out a subterranean basement front door with a lift in a hall up to ground level. Top down construction is a nightmare too.

One thing is for sure, given the aging population issues like this one are going to happen more frequently.While in this situation it was a child with a mobility challenge, more and more elderly are going to be in similar situations. Too bad the iBot was discontinued. This seems like an ideal situation for its use.

A couple minor additions would fix the ramp… A proper British sentry booth needs to be placed at the bottom. When one enters the bottom of the ramp it needs to start playing Yakety Sax. Upon hearing the music, a dirty old man should emerge from the guard shack and proceed to pursue the person along the twisted path of the ramp.


Been that way a long time from what I can tell.

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It’s easy to sit back and criticize others results, not knowing how hard they worked to find a solution, or why some solutions may have had compromises (maintenance, electricity) that some designer did not like.

I’ve seen this article a couple of places now, and I wonder if a front-to-back ramp would have been more efficient than side-to-side. Then again, maybe digging in the yard (to keep the slope of the first pass shallow enough) would be too expensive because of bedrock concerns.

Maybe in the end, it wound up like this on accident; cost overruns and escalation due to unforeseen problems are not new. Like me not knowing all of the priorities, maybe the person with the authority to fix it said “build a ramp”, and the handyman said “Yes, Sir”, and communication issues kept it from being re-evaluated when it became ridiculous.

Wow, that’s just gratuitous, though judging from the picture, the entrance to the house is raised quite a bit off the street.

I think the local government could have dealt with this issue more efficiently and less controversially by installing a lift. Yes, lifts are expensive, but the engineering issues are largely solved issues - there are quite a number of outdoor wheelchair lifts around.

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The garden, pre ramp, can be seen here