This page has to be quite long to cover all the information. We are happy to discuss access specifics with you by email or phone if reading through all of this is not easily accessible to you.
If you wish us to contact you please email our access officer Matt at
email address removed or contact us using the details on the Contact Us page on this site.
Structure of Access Report
This report has not been laid out by 'disability type' as everyone's needs are different and a lot of information is relevant to people with different needs.
The report contains the following sections which you can click on to go directly to that section:
- BiCon's accessibility policy
- Assistance options available on request
- Getting to Leicester and the venue
- Parking on site
- General site plan
- Accommodation, adapted and general
- Main Buildings
- Things BiCon does for everyone
- Other links
We work hard to make BiCon as accessible as possible. However, we are limited by physical venue constraints and the fact that we are a not-for-profit event with limited money and are organised and run entirely by volunteers.
- We will do our best to be honest with you and to ensure that everyone who wants to can come and enjoy as much of BiCon as possible.
- We will provide information primarily via this website.
- The more advance notice we have of your needs the more likely we are to be able to accommodate them.
- Where resources are limited we are likely to allocate them on a first come first served basis.
- We offer opportunities to tell us your access needs on the booking form and you can email our access officer at
email address removed.
- Anything you tell us will be kept in confidence.
- As we (the organising team) have to ensure the smooth running of the whole of BiCon, any human assistance will need to be provided by volunteer attenders. This limits how often and for how long that assistance can be provided.
Assistance Options Available on Request
We will provide the handbook in electronic and printed formats and if asked in advance we can provide alternative formats such as large print or audio recordings.
We hope to be able to assist attenders with some tasks including carrying luggage to and from accommodation on arrival and departure. If you think you might need assistance we ask you to contact us at
email address removed so we can work out how best to meet your needs.
BiCon cannot provide personal assistants but we can fund or part-fund people attending in a part-time or full-time Personal Assistant/Carer capacity.
Because registration can get very busy we plan to operate a priority registration system for anyone who has difficulty in waiting in the queues during busy periods or in being easily called by our volunteers.
Priority-attenders will be sent a registration card in advance. Upon presentation of this, or a call to the registration desk, you will be offered a seat nearby and will be registered as soon as the desk is clear.
Examples of attenders we would prioritise are those with mobility, sensory or fatigue impairments, attenders with children or anyone who lets us know they find noisy crowded areas difficult.
If you need access to priority registration please email
email address removed to arrange this.
Hearing assistance options
Hearing assistance options including loops and vibrating pillow pads for fire alarms can made available. Please talk to us and we'll talk to you about options.
We ask that if you want to bring an assistance dog that you let us know. This is so that we can ensure that people who are allergic to or dislike dogs can have their access needs met by being accommodated in different flats. We can provide details of assistance dog facilities on site on request. The BiCon handbook will request that other attenders do not pet assistance dogs or attempt to feed them.
All platforms at Leicester rail station have lifts between the platforms and main entrance of the station. There are LED signs and audio announcements. The station webpage has an access section with further information. There is also a detailed map of the station with photos of certain areas.
We do not recommend using the bus from the rail or bus stations for anyone with mobility issues or who has to carry heavy bags. The nearest bus stop is on Leicester Road, approx 700m or 10 minutes of average walking pace from Stamford House. The fare for both the black cabs and local minicabs from the railway station is approximately £6-£7. Ask to be dropped off at Stamford Hall on the University's Oadby campus.
There is a limited amount of priority parking space and we will be issuing priority permits to attendees who have an access need or this. You do not need to have a blue badge to get one of these permits, but we ask that only attendees with genuine access needs use the priority spaces as space is limited.
There is a small priority car park in front of Shirley House. There are also two high priority parking spaces in front of Stamford House which will be reserved for those needing to park very close by while they register only. The car parks and areas reserved for priority parking are marked on maps and will be signposted at the venue with a wheelchair symbol on a yellow square.
If you need access to priority parking for all of BiCon or while unloading/loading your luggage please email
email address removed to arrange this.
We will be using three main buildings and three sets of accommodation for BiCon 2011. Please note that in May we learned we are using some different buildings from 2008. This access report reflects the latest information.
Colours refer to the map below. These are:
- Stamford House – shaded orange
- Shirley House – shaded light blue
- Stamford Dining Room – shaded light green
- Bowder Court (Ensuite) – shaded yellow
- John Foster Hall (Ensuite + adapted rooms) – shaded purple
- Lasdun Blocks (Standard) – shaded pink
Distances between buildings are no more than 500m. The whole site is no more than 600m from one end to the other. Pathways are marked on the venue map as bright pink lines.
Residential accommodation is provided in:
- John Foster (adapted en suite) – 400-500m from Stamford Hall
- Bowder Court (en suite) – 250m from Stamford Hall
- Lasdun Blocks (standard) – 50-100m from Stamford Hall
We will have access to a limited number of wheelchair accessible rooms which you may also need if you cannot cannot step up to get into a shower. Accessible accommodation for wheelchair users and people with mobility or sensory impairments will be in John Foster Hall.
John Foster Hall
John Foster Hall is about 500m from the main site across the Manor Road. There is a traffic island about 50m from the path to Shirley House.
Entrance to the accessible flats will be with an electronic key fob. Anyone not in a wheelchair accessible block may have a regular key. There are lifts in these flats.
The flat-blocks are three storeys high and have no lifts. The flats have doors with reasonably easy to use keys though the doors may also be a bit heavy for some people to use easily. The steps are solid and have a handrail.
The blocks are three storeys high and have no lifts. We have not seen inside this accommodation recently.
Ground Floor Rooms
BiCon uses the British convention for naming floors: the entrance level is 'ground floor', up one flight of stairs is 'first floor' and so on.
We need to prioritise allocation of ground floor rooms to people who need them for access reasons. Friends of ground floor and adapted flat users will have second priority.
If you have requested a ground floor or adapted flat and wish to be able to access friends' flats, please ask your friends to request a ground floor room as a "friend of someone with ground-floor access needs". We will do our best to ensure anyone who needs a ground floor flat gets one and anyone else's needs are accommodated where possible.
One entrance to the building is via a concrete ramp and the other main entrance we will be using is via double doors from a level path
The ramped entrance is a wide heavy single door which goes into a foyer and the Boardroom. Access to the Library and other BiCon spaces is via a door which may be too narrow (the effective width is 69cm) for many wheelchairs to pass through.
The other main entrance will be via the Lounge. All the interior doorways except the one mentioned above are wide enough for a wheelchair user using a power-chair. Most of the building is open plan spaces with partitions to separate rooms. All the doors in the main part of the building are wide enough for a large power chair or scooter to navigate.
Some of the doors are double doors which will both need opening. The flooring throughout is floorboards or hard-wearing office carpeting.
The session rooms have standard fluorescent lighting and hard-wearing office carpet within. All the windows have curtains to shut out the light.
The bar in Stamford House is approximately 1.1m high, it does not have a lowered part for wheelchair users.
Seating is mostly solid wooden chairs with padding and regular height tables, low standard padded chairs plus some large leatherette two person sofas in the socialising spaces. If you require specific seating, please talk to us in advance and we will see what we can arrange.
There are three sets of toilets in Stamford House:
- a single wheelchair accessible adapted toilet with lowered sink and grab-bars. The mirror is high up.
- two sets of regular toilets, one with 5 cubicles, the other with 3 cubicles and 6 urinals. Both have multiple sinks, and sanitary towel bins will be provided in both.
We will be providing gender neutral toilets in Stamford and Shirley.
The Dining Room is about 50m from Stamford House. The entrance is on the level with two sets of double doors. It is a large room with a slightly raised stage and a varnished wooden floor. Acoustics are quite echoey so will be mainly used for selected sessions, evening gaming space and plenaries. We will have a lectern, microphone and a wireless microphone available in this space.
A university webpage says there are two toilets in the main Dining Room area, but this is not correct – the nearest toilets are in Stamford.
Shirley House is about 150m or 3 minutes walk at moderate walking speed from Stamford Hall. Between them there is a short steep gradient (rising approximately 93cm in 540cm = about 9.9 degrees, or 17.5% slope) with a hand rail between them. There is an alternative route via the road which is 400m or about 5 minutes at an ordinary walking pace. There is priority parking at the front of the building.
Access to the building is by a short flight of steps at the front, or a level access path at the back of the building as shown in the photo below.
The main doorway and internal doorways were measured at 75cm which may pose navigation issues for a power-chair wheelchair user. Internal doors are fitted with door closers which may make them heavy to open for some people. There is a main foyer and a number of short corridors into the session rooms.
There are two single regular toilets with shower and sink cubicles in them. There is one wheelchair accessible toilet on the ground floor. The first floor is only accessible by stairs so will not be used for mainstream BiCon events but may be used as a crèche space.
The flooring is hard wearing carpet with level access inside. Rooms are lit with standard fluorescent lighting and all have curtains to block out the light.
Quiet and Chill out space
There will be a quiet room available throughout the time that the daytime and evening spaces are open. We ask that people are quiet in here, so no noisy conversations or games.
In the evenings there will also be quiet "chill-out" social spaces. We ask that people not bring alcohol in these spaces. We will keep most spaces well lit throughout the event including during evening entertainments.
Stamford House and Shirley House each have a single adapted (wheelchair accessible) toilet. The BiCon team will put up notices reminding attenders that this is the only accessible toilet and request that they do not abuse it. Gender neutral toilets will be available in Stamford House and Shirley House. According to the university, Stamford Dining Hall has two toilets, but neither is adapted.
BiCon asks that smokers keep away from paths and conference buildings and from the non-smoking picnic area. There will be a designated spot for smokers near Stamford Hall.
For further information you can also check out the Disabled Go Access Guide, but you need to be aware that 'the Main Building' refers to the largely demolished Gilbert Murray Hall and, for some reason, there is nothing on either Stamford House or Lasdun on the page.