A WHEELCHAIR user is urging an Oxford college to make Christ Church Meadow more accessible.

Colin Ridler, got stuck in the meadow when he was unable to get through a turnstile gate, or a padlocked gate next to it, to get onto Rose Lane.

Mr Ridler, 66, who works in publishing, is now urging the Oxford University college to ensure that wheelchair users can access the meadow properly, and leave it via the exit which leads to the High Street.

Christ Church, which is reviewing the access issue, is keen to ensure cyclists don't ride their bikes on the meadow.

READ AGAIN: Disabled hit by 'poor planning' at Westgate Centre

Father-of-one Mr Ridler, who suffers chronic fatigue syndrome, spoke out after getting into the meadow via St Aldate's and arriving at the Rose Lane gates only to find there was no way through for his wheelchair, before retracing his route.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Ridler has contacted Christ Church to complain following his experience on Easter Monday.

He told the college: "I resolved to make the round trip from my home in Henley Street, off the Iffley Road, along the towpath from Donnington Bridge and round via Folly Bridge and the meadow back along Rose Lane and up the Iffley Road.

"All went well until I reached the gate from the meadow into Rose Lane.

"Imagine my frustration and annoyance to find that, while all able-bodied visitors could exit via the narrow turnstile gate, I was prevented from doing so by the small size of this gateway. The main double gates that let motor vehicles through was padlocked.

"In the end I had to turn round and, nursing my dwindling battery power, trundle slowly back to St Aldate’s and round the long way via the High Street to the Iffley Road and home."

Oxford Mail:

He went on: "In this age when by and large the needs of disabled people in public places are reasonably well catered for and indeed required by legislation, it does seem remiss of Christ Church not to provide for wheelchair access in and out of the meadow via Rose Lane.

"I accept that the meadow is not strictly in public ownership but by encouraging the public to make use of it and enjoy it, you are surely under some obligation to ensure all can in fact gain access to it equally."

Mr Ridler said he wanted to cross the meadow as it reminded him of his cross country running days when he was a pupil at Magdalen College School.

He has spoken out on disabled access issues on a number of occasions.

In February last year he said the taxi rank in Old Greyfriars Street next to the Westgate Centre was in a poor position.

Oxford Mail:

Christ Church treasurer James Lawrie said: "We would like to thank Mr Ridler for raising the issue - it's under close scrutiny and we are reviewing how we might make the gate more accessible.

"We have disabled access from St Aldate's - the problem we are trying to cope with is maintaining the meadow as a place of enjoyment for pedestrians.

"We have yet to find a solution that enables wheelchairs to gain access without also allowing in cyclists - cyclists are not allowed on the meadow."