When Will The Retail Industry Be Completely Accessible?

When Will The Retail Industry Be Completely Accessible?

Accessibility has been prominent within the Retail and Transport industries this month. Professor Stuart Cole at the Wales Transport Research Centre has warned that despite work is underway to modify existing trains; the target of making 70% of Wales' trains and border trains accessible for all by 2020 is deemed impossible. The Platform Lift Company has found it is not just the transport industry failing to provide suitable disabled access, it is also the retail industry.

Sarah’s Experience at a New Shopping Centre

Sarah Smith, a resident of Leicestershire has disclosed what her most recent shopping experience was like at The Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre; Sarah thought that the new shopping centre had presented a fresh and positive opportunity for shopping. Little did she know that even though this is a very modern shopping centre, it lacked to offer decent sized and comfortable changing rooms for the disabled, and especially those in wheelchairs.

Lack of Clear Walk-ways & Disabled Cubicles

Sarah went on to say that there was a barricade of concession stands in front of one set of changing rooms, in which she had to move them out of the way to gain access. Once Sarah managed to navigate her way through, she was then told that this side of the shop did not have a disabled changing cubicle. She refused to go to the other end of the shop and endure the difficult experience once more. She then explained that all cubicles had doors, so she had to get dressed in full view due to another barricade. Sarah's experience is one of many that suggest that major retailers are not pro-active when it comes to fitting their shops around access, and for the disabled this is vital for a positive and acceptable shopping experience.

Practical Changing Cubicles for All?

The cubicle doors maybe inviting and clean-looking; however they are not practical for the less mobile, as there is not enough room to move without difficulty. Retailers are advised on how to make a shop's accessible for all, whether that would be de-cluttering them for people with Autism, or ensuring a clean wide walkway for those with wheelchairs, zimmer frames etc, and staff training for Disability Awareness.

Court Action for Retailer’s refusal of Reasonable Adjustments

The Equality Act 2010 says changes or adjustments should be made to ensure you can access the following things if you’re disabled:

  • education
  • employment
  • housing
  • goods and services like shops, banks, cinemas, hospitals, council offices, leisure centres
  • Associations and private clubs like the Scouts and Guides, private golf clubs and working men clubs.

However in Cambridge, Esther Leighton a wheelchair user had to write 28 formal complaints and filed seven court actions so that the shops within her high street would provide reasonable adjustments. This would mean adoption of a ramp, or cantilever lift to ensure that Mrs Leighton could access without struggle.

One shop- Carlos Kebab Café failed to reply and provide reasonable adjustments which ended in court action and subsequently going bust due to the fine’s the court had placed of £10,000.

Mrs Leighton had given all shop owners the opportunity to make reasonable adjustments as it is her right to access all shops, and all shop owners have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Please enter the poll and tell us if you think the retail industry should be given the same targets as the rail industry!

We at the Platform Lift Co have provided various accessible lifts for Retail Giants such as Pret A Manger, GAME, Wagamama, Prezzo, Hugo Boss, Jaguar and more.

Check out our wide range of platform lifts.


Want to keep up to date with our latest news? Sign up to our newsletter!