Over 1,000 council homes in Reading have variations or adaptations to them to make them accessible for disabled people, it has been revealed.

Those who are physically disabled or are wheelchair-bound can struggle to find somewhere to live because of accessibility issues.

Now, a spokesperson for the council has revealed how many properties are accessible for disabled people following questions from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

First, the council was asked how many affordable, council-built homes that are also wheelchair accessible and accessible to physically disabled people there are.

The spokesperson revealed that approximately around 1,500 Reading Borough Council properties have adaptations of different variations, including level access or wheelchair accessible showers and level access living.

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The spokesperson added: “In addition our ground floor flats and bungalows are suitable for applicants who have a physical disability that may require no adaptations.”

However, many of the council-owned wheelchair accessible properties are already occupied.

When asked whether the council has any available wheelchair accessible properties, the spokesperson replied:  “The Council currently has nine vacant wheelchair accessible properties being advertised.

“In addition, of around 100 homes that have become empty and are being prepared for new tenants, some will also be suitable for tenants with disabilities.”

When those who are wheelchair bound or disabled are seeking to move, they can get assistance from the council.

Explaining the support available, the spokesperson said: “When assessing accessibility issues the Council’s Senior Specialised Housing Occupational Therapist would determine the needs of the applicant, and an assessment made on whether the property is able to accommodate the required adaptation.

“If it was not possible for the applicant to remain in their accommodation an assessment would be carried out to determine what accommodation would be suitable.

“Financial advice is also available through the Council, including an affordability assessment and signposting for debt advice.”

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Unfortunately, not all wheelchair bound and disabled people can get council homes, meaning they have to search for accommodation on the private market.

Bungalows and ground floor flats are typically the most appropriate homes for physically disabled people, but some tower blocks can be appropriate as well.

For example, the 18 storey Hewitt building is accessible for the wheelchair bound as it has large lifts and no need to use stairs.

Reading Chronicle: The Hewitt building is an example of apartments that are wheelchair accessible. Credit: Google MapsThe Hewitt building is an example of apartments that are wheelchair accessible. Credit: Google Maps

However, other towers are less suitable as they require steps to enter or may have small lift shafts.

Reading Borough Council can assist disabled people to find accessible private properties through its Rent Guarantee Scheme, which works with landlords to let properties to those in need, which includes sourcing accessible properties.

Further, the council is in the process of creating a separate Adapted Housing Register to advertise directly to those in need of an adapted home.

It is hoped this new register will be available towards the end of the year, with the aim of making allocating accessible properties a simpler and more straightforward process.

A separate Adapted Housing Register will also help the council better identify the needs for adapted properties in Reading and provide better data for making strategic decisions around future housing developments.