THREE Counties Show organisers have been labelled “ridiculous” for a new policy of charging disabled people full admission to avoid “discriminating against” them.
Malvern town councillor Julian Roskams said he thought it was a joke when he got a leaflet from the showground, which is set to have 100,000 visitors this weekend, detailing its new policies.
Headed ‘Three Counties Showground Welcomes Disabled Visitors’, it says the Three Counties Agricultural Society “does not wish to discriminate against visitors with disabilities, so the full admission rate will be charged”.
Coun Roskams labelled the move as “political correctness gone mad”.
“Can anyone explain how charging a discounted rate is discrimination against, rather than discrimination in favour of the disabled?” he said.
“I imagine that there are some disabled people who would say they don’t want to be treated any differently, but at the same time disabled people obviously face much higher living costs and so I think it is reasonable they should be offered some reduction.
“The suggestion that they are discriminating by charging a lower price is utterly ridiculous.”
Although the showground says full-time carers can apply for a free ticket if they book in advance and provide proof, Coun Roskams called the venue’s approach “particularly mean-spirited”.
The decision has also been slammed by Jenette Davy, of Malvern Access, which works to ensure disabled people have the best access to premises and services.
“Somebody clearly has not thought this through,” she said. “I think the wording is atrocious and puts people’s backs up straight away.
“It has been settled for many years that any public venue has offered people with disabilities a concession. There are good reasons why people with disabilities get their concessions and I hope that they will rethink this.”
Sharon Gilbert, PR manager for the Three Counties Agricultural Society, said the idea was to operate “a fair policy, which can be applied equally to all those who are disabled”.
She said: “The Society does not wish to discriminate against visitors with disabilities, so we charge the full rate. If the visitor has a full-time carer or attendant, however, a free ticket is available for them when purchasing a standard price ticket in advance and on provision of supporting documentation.
“Our gate staff were being put in the untenable position of having to decide whether someone was disabled.
“We also believe that the system was subject to abuse. We have therefore amended our policy in common with other similar events and local and national visitor attractions.”