A DECISION not to provide disabled facilities as part of the £7 million Urmston Leisure Centre revamp was branded "disgusting" by campaigners.

The outburst took place during a recent planning meeting after council bosses agreed on plans to upgrade the Bowfell Road complex.

The group had lobbied Trafford council to provide a sensory room, hydrotherapy pool,  ‘changing place’ toilet – and hoist last year.

In November, protestor Lily Whiteley called for the planning committee to provide the extra disabled facilities on the site.

She argued the multi-million-pound scheme did not meet the needs of disabled people living in the community.

In response, town hall chiefs agreed to postpone making a decision on the application over concerns about ‘discharging the public sector equality duty’, they said.

The application, which councillors were advised to approve, was tabled for the second time last week.

Blueprints revealed just the toilet has been added to the revised plans.

Campaigner Laura Clark argued the authority was still not complying with legislation.

“Planning law needs to be considered side-by-side with the equality act,” she said.

“But you are saying they are completely separate – and the council’s responsibility to disabled people has nothing to do with this committee – that is absolute nonsense.

“Public sector equality duty is a responsibility of this council – and is in place so that when decisions are being considered it forms part of the process.

“You can’t say this is a planning application so only guidance to be considered should be planning legislation – that is nonsense – and you can’t do that.

“You consider public sector equality duty when making all decisions so that it eliminates any form of discrimination.”

Planning officer Rebecca Coley disagreed.

“This application is about the use of a piece of land – and whether it complies with the public sector equality duty – and it is our view that it does,” she said.

“We are not saying the concerns raised by members of the public are not valid, they are just not material to this application.”

Coun Nathan Evans said he was ‘disapointed’ because during the previous meeting councillors agreed to support the disabled community.

“We have got an opportunity here to do more than meet just the minimum standard for these people,” he said.

“But providing just a toilet – at the last minute –  is disappointing when we’ve got a £47m leisure strategy budget to play with.”

Meanwhile, Coun Daniel Bunting pointed out that the council is the applicant – and can it can do ‘what it likes’, he said.

“This application is entirely under our control and it would have taken a minimal amount of effort to put this right,” he added.

“I’m not happy with this scheme as it stands –  it’s such a wasted opportunity – and if this is the best we can do then it’s not good enough.”

His comments were backed by Coun Karen Barclay who also said she was also ‘disappointed’ with the plans.

However, Coun Liz Patel welcomed the revised plans – and disagreed they met just the minimum standard.

Meanwhile, Coun Aiden Williams said he ‘sympathised’ with objectors and agreed that inaccessibility is the ‘consequence of poor design.’

“But changes have been made to the scheme in an attempt to enhance that,” he added.

“In addition, I also welcome the changing place facility.

“However, if we reject the plans the centre will stay as it is, but if we approve them the community will benefit from a great facility.

“I can only trust the officers who say it is not possible to include a sensory room and hydrotherapy pool.”

After members voted to approve the scheme shouts of ‘shame on you’ were heard from the public gallery.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Whiteley said: “All we wanted was a simple sensory room – but we’re told it’s not possible.

“But why is it possible to have two party rooms next door to the disabled toilet?

“What’s wrong with these people – I’m disgusted with the decision – absolutely disgusted.”