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Disabled Olympics Fans Face A Shortage Of Accessable London Hotels

London faces a shortage of accessable hotel rooms to accommodate disabled spectators at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is under high pressure to uphold London’s pledge to stage the “most inclusive Paralympics ever”, when athletes, such as swimmer Ellie Simmonds (pictured), are expected to lead Team GB’s assault on Olympic medals.

The Mayor has ordered an extensive audit of London’s 100,000 hotel rooms to check that enough of them are fully wheelchair accessible. Developers say they are happy to work with him on the issue, but point out that fully accessible hotel rooms are much more expensive to build, and are calling for subsidies.

The London Development Agency is spending over £20million this year alone on improving facilities for tourists, and is seeking to convince London hotels that it makes good business sense to increase their accessibility for disabled guests.

The LDA, who are carrying out the audit for the Mayor, said there are around 1,100 wheelchair-accessible rooms throughout London. But the London 2012 organising committee refuses to disclose how many wheelchair-users it expects at the Games.

A London 2012 spokeswoman said nearly 8million tickets would be sold for the Olympics and 1.5million for the Paralympics. There are around 11million disabled people in the UK alone, with between 550,000 and 770,000 relying wheelchairs on a daily basis.

Transport for London has pledged to make 1 quarter of all London’s 275 Tube stations fully accessible by the end of next year.

Abigail Lock, head of campaigns for disability rights charity Scope, said “Often, when we have large events, big organisations block book hotel rooms. I had a look at the Visit London website and a lot of the accessible rooms they have listed are the chain hotels. People who require these additional facilities may not be able to access them.”

Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes said “We inherited the Olympic Games, which had the strapline ‘The most accessible Olympic Games ever‘, and we have to deliver.”

Under UK disability law, 1 in 20 hotel rooms must be accessible. A review of the Mayor’s London plan is likely to increase this, though a new official minimum has not yet been finalised.

Brian Seaman, of the Tourism For All charity, said “There are a lot of big hotels being built in and around the 2012 facilities, with 300 rooms, 400 rooms. Each of these is going to have the five per cent. We are going to have a considerable number of extra rooms.” The LDA said it and Visit London were “liaising closely” with the hotel industry to ensure that the demand was met.

If you are looking for fully accessable hotels for the London Olympics, check out all of the latest hotel accommodation on hotels4-londonolympics.co.uk.



  1. cna on Tuesday 17, 2010

    Very true – lets see what he does about it! Nice post.