A man from Marlow said he was concerned about safety at the Pub in the Park festival after spotting a lack of wheelchair access routes. 

Jim Berryman told the BFP that he had been at Higginson Park for a walk on Tuesday May 16, as Pub in the Park was being set up, and found a 70-year-old man “in distress” because he had no way of entering the park in his wheelchair.

“We met this poorly old man with his wife pushing him in a wheelchair. They wanted to go down to the river like they do every week but because of all the fencing, the only way is across the grass. There was no way a wheelchair could get through.

“I volunteered to help him across and then came back later to help him back. I then phoned the site office and spoke to a senior team member who agreed that there was no wheelchair access to the park.

“Within half an hour, they had rung back and said they were putting mats down and creating a path for wheelchairs with signage.”

Mr Berryman said he was grateful for the quick action, but added that the incident had sparked concern about safety regulations at the festival site.

“If they’ve neglected something this minor, what sort of safety regime have the council put in place? There is a path now and it took such a short time to put in place.”

He said his concern was exacerbated by the number of older residents in Marlow, who may be unable to speak up for themselves.

“It feels like a lack of consideration for people who have disabilities or who are in wheelchairs because of their age.

“We’re trusting them with our park, but it seems in this case like they’re disregarding the local residents. What strikes me is how distressed the couple that I helped across the grass was."

A spokesperson for Pub in the Park said organisers had worked with the support of the council and local authorities to deliver a Thames footpath diversion to enable public access to areas of Higginson Park unoccupied by the festival site.

Clive Harriss, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Buckinghamshire Council, said: "We're happy to see Pub in the Park return again as an established event that has been taking place in Higginson Park for a number of years.

"While the event is set up, it is sometimes necessary for organisers to close off or divert some of the pathways and provide temporary alternative route.

"We understand these concerns and apologise if the alternative trackway had not yet been laid at the time of this resident's visit.

"We are pleased that the organisers acted swiftly to rectify this and wish all attendees and park guests a safe visit this weekend."