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

Monday, 9 December

When the Disabled Could Not Pass

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

Share



Related Articles

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
Mobile Nicking Moped Mobsters Get The Sting

The City of London Police are continuing to investigate after suspects on mopeds entered a jewellers on Fleet Street on Monday December 4 The police were called at...

 Read Full Article
Tackling Knife Crime And Saving Lives

The use of knives and weapons in retail outlet crime has always been a chief concern and a major challenge for security operators and our retail customers, writes Chris...

 Read Full Article
Guide Dogs - Open for Business Service

One FM company believes it has achieved a UK first by introducing a national initiative that will ensure blind and partially sighted users can enjoy trips to its shopping...

 Read Full Article
Retail Loses Access to 12 Million By Not Being Accessible

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has accused retailers of turning away 20% of people in the country by not attracting the disabled. The allegation was made by...

 Read Full Article
Sector Specialist Chosen

Mitie has appointed Peter Egan as a sector specialist to head the retail and logistics sector for its total security management business. Mitie’s retail and...

 Read Full Article
Parry Packs A Packet Of Two

Eric Parry Architects, the team behind the proposed tallest building in the Square Mile, have also been instrumental in obtaining planning permission for 1 Liverpool...

 Read Full Article
There's No Place Like Home

Research has revealed that over a third of people are paying too much in housing costs and that younger people and women are the most likely to suffer from the problem of...

 Read Full Article