The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

When the Disabled Could Not Pass

19 February 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970
 

Consternation and a degree of anger were caused when the Grosvenor Shopping Centre took the decision to impose a temporary ban on some mobility-impaired shoppers after Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service expressed concern following an inspection its officers made on 27 January this year on the 1960s’ facility.

In its report it was stated that were ‘serious concerns’ that if a fire broke out ‘some people would simply not be able to get out’. This was enough for the centre to prevent wheelchair users and other mobility-impaired people to enter the building.

Disability News Service (DNS) stated that Laura Smith, Chief Officer of Macclesfield’s Disability Information Bureau – which runs the town’s Shopmobility scheme – said the service only found out about the ban after “shocked” members told them what was happening, even though the scheme is only “a stone’s throw away” from the shopping centre entrance. “Nobody told us,” said Ms Smith. “The majority of people using scooters [in the shopping centre] are from our service. The lesson to be learned is you need to communicate better.” According to DNS, Smith said that security staff at the shopping centre had shown a lack of sensitivity, empathy and knowledge of disability.

The partial ban was lifted on 5 February but it has raised questions as to whether similar steps could be taken in other older shopping centres where exits might be regarded as too steep for disabled people in the event of a fire or other event requiring a speedy vacating of a complex.

As far as the situation at Grosvenor Shopping Centre the concerns of the fire service appear to have been met. “We have been able to reach agreement with the owners of the Macclesfield Grosvenor Shopping Centre on interim measures to ensure the safe evacuation of those with mobility issues from the premises and we believe that the centre is now fully open,” stated Simon Gibbins, Head of Fire Protection, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. “We will now continue to work with them to reach an agreement on a permanent solution which will fully satisfy our concerns on public safety.”

The owners of the centre have been more circumspect and believed it had acted in the best interests of all concerned. However, it was written to by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which criticised it for not acting within the letter of the Equality Act. ‘Service providers have a responsibility to plan in advance for the needs of disabled people and ensure they can get in and out of their premises safely,’ wrote Lord Holmes pictured, Disability Commissioner.

Other points that have been raised concerning Grosvenor Shopping Centre is that no disabled person is employed there in any capacity and why no attempt was made to contact the Shopmobility scheme prior to implementing the partial ban.

Picture: Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Macclesfield imposed a ban on wheelchair users and other mobility impaired people without any warning

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 19 February 2016

Share



Related Articles

Scoop to Futureproof Retail for a Post-Pandemic Future

One of the UK’s leading asset managers has appointed POD Architects to "future-proof" the Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling. At a time when retail...

 Read Full Article
Is The Tide Changing For Women In Security?

When Meghan Markle was made Duchess of Windsor, her decision to assign a female head of security received particularly close press attention. But the Duchess'...

 Read Full Article
Intu Shares Plummet As Second Offer Falls

In October, Intu Properties declared a £200 million fall in its share value. Now those shares have dropped another 38 per cent on the news that a consortium bidding...

 Read Full Article
Public And First Responders Given All Clear In Salisbury Nerve Gas Attack

Public Health England has given a statement following the suspected assassination attempt of a 60 year old former spy and a young lady near a Salisbury shopping centre...

 Read Full Article
GMS Group Wins Security and Cleaning Contract With Colliers

GMS Group has won a contract to provide FM services at several of Colliers’ Gloucester client sites. Colliers is the managing agent for Gloucester City Council...

 Read Full Article
Premier Inn Apologises to Paralympic Swimmer After Lift Outage

Paralympian Ellie Challis and her father were unable to access their Premier Inn hotel room due to a broken lift. As reported by the BBC, Ellie Challis, a Paralympic...

 Read Full Article
Amazon Opens First Ever Hospital-Located ‘Just Walk Out’ Store

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has opened the world’s first checkout-free store using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in a healthcare...

 Read Full Article
Wates Wins M&S Fit-Out Contracts

Building and property maintenance company Wates is to deliver three large-scale fit-out contracts on behalf of Marks and Spencer. Wates will work across three stores...

 Read Full Article
New Built Environment Design Standard Addresses Neurodiversity Inequality

A new building design standard has been created to ensure that the built environment is accessible to both people with physical disabilities and neurodivergent people...

 Read Full Article
BSI Publishes Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Standard to Ensure Accessibility

BSI has launched PAS 1899:2022, Electric vehicles – Accessible charging – Specification, sponsored by the UK government and the charity,...

 Read Full Article