Chichester restaurant criticised for storing highchairs in disabled toilet

Jamie Marks
Jamie Marks

A WAR of words has broken out after a Chichester restaurant was accused of failing to maintain access to its disabled toilet.

Jamie Marks, 51, of Chichester, was in Marco’s Restaurant, in Northgate, on November 20, when he tried to use the disabled toilet, but got caught in children’s highchairs being stored there.

“It was only when I got in and shut the door behind me and turned I saw the highchairs,” he said.

As he reversed his wheelchair, its anti-tipper device got caught and he had to struggle to break free.

He added: “It was that mission of me getting free that caused the whiplash injury to my neck.”

Mr Marks suffers from several conditions, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and scoliosis,

He said the injury could not come at a worse time, as he has already suffered a stroke this year, and is now being assessed to find the extent of 
his injury.

“It’s ruined my Christmas. I can’t get anywhere and I’m in a lot of pain.”

He added: “My main anger is the risk to children.

“To have highchairs in a toilet is a disgrace. Children under the age of five are very susceptible to infection.”

He added the incident happened as the restaurant was preparing to close in the evening.

In response, restaurant owner Marco Ruggieri conceded the highchairs should not have been there, but added they had worked with the district council’s environmental health team to resolve the issue, and the chairs were no longer stored there.

He said he was happy with the outcome.

Mr Ruggieri added: “I can understand if it was in the middle of the day or service, but when it’s closed it’s a bit pathetic.”

Following Mr Marks’ complaint to the district council, a spokeswoman said: “Following the investigation, we explained to the company they are required to make sure disabled access is maintained at all times. They agreed to comply with this.

“We contacted the person who made the complaint to update them, and to let them know that we would continue to monitor the situation.”