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Chairman’s Report The past year has seen some successes as well as the usual frustrations. Our change of venue seems to have been very satisfactory, being warm and much less bleak. We failed to have any significant input into the Wharton Park redevelopment, due to a cancelled discussion with Louise Vest.  But having attended two Disability Forums there I found it generally satisfactory, apart from the inevitable steep climb.  I also pointed out a potentially dangerous unprotected set of steps leading down the amphitheatre, which I hope has been remedied. We were brought up to date with the plans for North Road and the Bus Station. Linda reported that the Oriental Museum was having days devoted to the blind and visually impaired and these proved successful.  It seems that it has maintained a very high standard for accessibility, and on the occasions I visited I found no problems. The Open Treasure at Durham Cathedral benefited from our members’ input, and when I visited I had no problems and the lifts were working.  The problems over parking and the inadequate disabled toilet are still unsolved.  The Broderers’ exhibition was placed in the only remaining inaccessible area of the Cathedral, and I wrote to the Durham Times and the Dean about this.  I was given to understand that there are plans to ramp the Nine Altars chapel eventually, but why they chose to exhibit there is inexplicable. Linda reported a problem with the disabled toilet on Palace Green, and resolution of this, perhaps with a RADAR lock, is awaited.  Keeping the key at the DHC may be a problem as that itself is not properly accessible. Hospital Car Parking is no longer free for Blue Badge holders.  I have been in contact about this, as at least at BAGH the pay machines are inaccessible to wheelchair users, having a 4 inch kerb.  The matter is now in hand, when they can afford it! The loss of Durham’s main Post Office on Silver Street is regrettable, as access is now much more of a problem. The Christmas Social before the January meeting seemed a success, all the better for being held in January, I suspect.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to make this a regular event. John Clarke Chairman.
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