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City council settles claim alleging "discriminatory" pavement licensing policy Published Date: 05/03/2023

City of York Council has settled a wheelchair user's judicial review claim, which argued the local authority's pavement licensing policy was discriminatory.

Local Government Lawyer reported that Flick Williams, who is visually impaired, contended that a council policy breached the Equality Act 2010 saying the licensing policy went against Government guidance, which states that: "Where a pavement licence is granted, clear access routes on the highway will need to be maintained, taking into account the needs of all users, including disabled people."

In response to Williams's letter, the council withdrew its policy and changed the criteria against which licence applications are assessed to ensure that a minimum width of 1.5m generally remains available to highway users on footways and that suitable barriers are in place.

Williams brought her claim without a solicitor and said she "was quite prepared" to represent herself in court.

But the council settled the claim out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Announcing the settlement on Twitter, Williams said: "Importantly the policy has now changed to the benefit of all disabled people & others too."

A City of York Council spokesperson said:

"While we do not comment on individual cases, we are sorry that any individual has experienced difficulties with access issues. We recognise that we got it wrong, and are grateful that issues were brought to our attention.

"In working to meet our ambitions to deliver a more accessible city for all, we will continue to listen and learn from the lived experiences of disabled people."