Vinyl, commonly known as 'Life', is located underground on Sidney StreetMAIA WYN DAVIES

In a tweet published last Wednesday, 16th January, the CUSU Disabled Students’ Campaign (DSC) accused Cambridge nightclub Vinyl of breaching its legal responsibility to adequately accommodate disabled club-goers. This followed one student’s inability to access the club due to the stairlift’s failure to hold the weight of her powerchair.

Since Vinyl, commonly known as ‘Life’ is located underground, lift access is crucial for many disabled individuals.

Anna Ward, a fourth year student, said that the lift was unable to hold the weight of both her and her electric wheelchair, and so she could not use it to go down to the club. With no other means of entering Vinyl, Ward had to return home.

“I was really upset – this was supposed to be my first night out independently in Cambridge”.

“I should be allowed to enjoy myself the same as everyone else,” she added.

CUSU’s Disabled Students’ Officer Emrys Travis noted that while the minimum legally required capacity for wheelchairs and scooters on trains is 300kg, Vinyl’s stairlift has a capacity of only 150kg. On Twitter, the DSC argued that this was ‘absolutely unacceptable’.

CUSU President Evie Aspinall added, in a tweet, that this incident was “deeply disappointing” and asked of Vinyl: “When will you be resolving this?”

In the tweet in question, the DSC claimed that the popular club was ‘legally liable’ for its alleged breach of accessibility regulations.

According to the Equality Act 2010, premises must be made accessible to disabled users, stating that it is the legal responsibility of those who manage premises to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate disabled users. The policy of the Act is “so far as is reasonably practicable, to approximate the access enjoyed by disabled people to that enjoyed by the rest of the public.”

A spokesperson for the Deltic Group, to which Vinyl belongs, has denied allegations that Vinyl’s access arrangements do not meet legal requirements.

“As this was a refurbishment and the lift was existing, it does meet current UK legislation requirements”, a spokesperson from Vinyl told Varsity.

In an official statement, Vinyl and Deltic said that installing a new lift “simply wasn’t possible”.

“Vinyl is in a unique building, which provides real limitations on what we can and cannot do. To install a larger and stronger lift would have required complex construction works and a remodelling of the interior of the club.”

Previously, the lift in the nightclub, formally named Kuda, was not functional.

Ward told Varsity: “In the past I used to use an old manual wheelchair I have, and would get friends to push me to the club and carry me and my chair (separately) down the stairs so that I could go. This was difficult as I can’t move myself in a manual chair due to my disability causing weakness in my arms and shoulders also so I had to have someone with me at all times.”

Although the lift is now in use again, it has not been replaced.

The spokesperson said that the venue was not aware of the recent allegations before being contacted by Varsity, but was pleased to have had them brought to its attention and would now be in contact with the DSC.


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“Having clubs that can welcome everyone is very important to us and in the case of Vinyl we have done everything that was reasonable, as part of the investment, to make the venue as accessible as possible for all our guests.”

At the time of publication, the DSC has not been contacted by Vinyl or the Deltic Group.

In response to Vinyl’s comments, Emrys Travis told Varsity: “Current indoor lifts are usually manufactured with no less than a 225kg maximum weight limit. I eagerly await Vinyl’s release of an official document from a building surveyor confirming that the walls of the club could not stand the installation of a lift with any higher weight limit than the currently installed lift, it they are, as they claim, genuinely as legally compliant as possible.”

They added that they would “absolutely” be taking further action with regards to the situation, as did Anna Ward.

  • Updated, January 21st 2019: This article was amended to include further comment from Emrys Travis.

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