East Yorkshire accessibility expert helping Gibraltar's plans to create a cultural and sporting hotspot
ACCESS ALL AREAS: Ian Streets is working with the government in Gibraltor to ensure its cultural and sporting venues are accessible to all
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 10 Aug 2017
It is better known for its barbary macaques and importance as a British wartime fortress than a sporting destination.
However, Gibraltar's role as a sporting and cultural hotspot is gathering pace - helped in part by an accessibility consultant from East Yorkshire.
Ian Streets, managing director of About Access, is guiding the public and private sectors in Gibraltar and has made several visits at the invitation of the government to advise on everything from hotel improvements to conversion of the famous Rock’s tunnels into wine cellars and a giant cigar humidor.
He said: “The purpose of the latest trip was to look at the tourist attractions and give some advice on making them more accessible.
"The government has sold about 150 metres of tunnels under the Rock and it has been bought by a company which wants to build a visitor centre and a wine storage area. It will also be used as a humidor for storing cigars.”
The Gibraltar football team is currently taking part in a qualification campaign for the FIFA World Cup for the first time, having also featured in qualifying for the 2016 UEFA European Football Championship. The team has played its home games in Portugal while it awaits construction of a new stadium.
And although it is not an island, Gibraltar will host the 2019 Island Games, which brings together competitors from as far afield as Menorca and the Falkland Islands, including cyclist Mark Cavendish MBE and Kelly Sotherton.
The British overseas territory, which sits at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, is now investing heavily to improve its infrastructure and to make sure disabled people can enjoy the visitor experience to the full.
As part of this, the government is seeking expert advice from Mr Streets, who is in the process of confirming dates for his next visit, when he expects to be looking at plans for improvements to sporting facilities.
Mr Streets, whose experience of top sporting events and facilities includes accessibility studies of Premier League and Championship football grounds, Test match cricket venues and major indoor sports and entertainment venues including the O2 Arena, said Gibraltar’s quest to improve performances on the pitch and on the track is being matched by a desire to improve facilities for spectators.
He said: “There is so much to look at including new venue for international football and cricket and a new sports centre for Special Olympics, for example UEFA sets strict requirements for access, seating and sanitary facilities for disabled supporters.
"I am getting involved early because it is important to address accessibility requirements at the design stage.”