Summersdale shop revamp leaves no room for disabled

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Summersdale One Stop has been the subject of complaints by wheelchair users after a revamp made the aisles so narrow, that they can’t even access the shop.

Wheelchair-user Samantha Flanagan, of Maplehurst Road, said she can no longer use her local store as there simply isn’t enough room.

She said: “It was always tight in the shop but now it is so bad I cannot even get in the shop with my wheelchair.

“The aisles are so narrow you can’t pass other people easily and not at all if you or the other person has a basket.

“You can’t get a wheelchair, pushchair or anyone needing mobility aids down the aisles.

“You would think in this day and age that when refitting a store it would be made more accessible, not less.

“I am a disabled lady who needs a local shop available so I can stay independent yet there is no access at all for me, now I am going to have to use my car just to get the vital things I need.

“We have the Paralympics this year in the UK with adverts and programmes about people with disabilities.

“Have One Stop closed their eyes and pretended we don’t exist? This is 2012 when shops are meant to be accessible.”

The Equality Act was introduced in 2010 to ensure disabled people have access to everyday services, and this includes shops.

The law states that service providers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments to premises or to the way they provide a service so that there is access for disabled people.

This is so that someone with a disability is not put at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people when accessing the services.

Barry Pickthall who runs the disability campaign group Don’t Cut Us Out, said: “There are so many places that do not allow access to wheelchair users still and this issue should be considered in the planning process.

“One Stop is a national company so really they should know better”

A One Stop spokeswoman responded to the claims, and said: “Unfortunately recent changes to the layout of the store have caused difficulties for some of our customers.

“We are now changing the layout and would like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”

On hearing that One Stop would resolve the issue and widen the aisles, Miss Flanagan thanked the Observer for their help.

She said: “If it wasn’t for the Observer nothing would have changed, and I am disappointed this even happened in the first place – logic did not prevail.

“But once the store is accessible to me again I will continue to use my local One Stop.”

Anyone with accessibility issues should get in touch with the Chichester-based campaign Don’t Cut Us Out by visiting www.dontcutusout.org.uk