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Import Building

Paul Stockton
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Epping Forest CAB

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Joined: 6 May 2014

Does anyone have any experience in representing people at appeals at this centre in East London? I’m particularly interested in disabled parking and access, and the arrangements for evacuating disabled people in the event of a fire, and any other tips. There is a number on to ring for this kind of information but nobody answers it.

Martin Williams
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Welfare rights advisor - CPAG, London

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Joined: 16 June 2010

Hi Paul,

I have represented there quite often over the years.

Re the specific stuff about disability access, I have to say I am not much help - I can’t recall ever having had a client who drove there (my client group were local and almost none had cars anyway).

In terms of access, then there is a lift to get to the level the FTT is on.

In terms of parking- again not sure, there is nothing that is super nearby to front of building (at least a 50metre walk even if dropped off I think). You could try calling Tower Hamlets Town Hall as that is effectively at the same place (well same office park sort of space) and they might be able to advise. If HMCTS cannot advise then I would suspect that Import House itself (ie the actual operators of the building rather than HMCTS who just lease a part of it) could do. It is this rather trendy crew: (I always find it amusing that such a hip start-up style brand hosts a venue with a bunch of downtrodden disabled people traipsing through daily, I wonder whether it takes the froth off the frappacappachinos for the young wealth creators of the future the place likes to attract).

Overall building a bit intimidating in terms of getting in is a bit of an adventure for someone who does not get out much:

(1) desk to sign in at with no HMCTS markings as it is an office used by many people. At this instructions are given to get up to venue and an electronic pass given to get through security gates

(2) security gates where I think to go through you have to place pass on scanner

(3) lift to correct floor (2nd?) which are fairly modern lifts- press one button for any of the several lifts

(4) come out of lift and have to turn left (there are other Tribunals taking place to right) which can be confusing - the left hand side is also the side for respondents in ET litigation so it is full of employers, their witnesses and barristers with one row of seats reserved for disabled people - If you turn up in a suit be warned that everyone will think you are there for the ET and if you then get asked are you there for appellant or respondent and say appellant you will be sent to wrong room to sit with a bunch of sacked workers having their day in the ET…..

(5) get searched going in to the actual side waiting room for SEC appeals by security guard with a wand.

(6) then sign in at desk with HMCTS clerk.

(7) note if client then needs to use toilet before hearing and takes bag with them they will need to be searched again coming in.

(8) on way out of venue then to make the electronic gates on ground level work you must deposit your badge in a chute rather than scan which there is no sign to tell you to do and so it is not uncommon to meet people desperately trying to scan there pass to no avail.