Wheelchair users barred from shopping centre due to health and safety concerns

Fire safety concerns at Cheshire shopping centre means no entry to wheelchair users

The owners of a Cheshire shopping centre have barred the entry of wheelchair users after the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was concerned about possible evacuation problems in the event of a fire.

The owners of the Grosvenor shopping centre, situated in Macclesfield, are no longer allowing people who are reliant upon a wheelchair for their mobility into the premises due to the health and safety concerns. The decision comes after an inspection by the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service found their to be issues with evacuation possibilities.

Simon Gibbins, head of fire protection in Cheshire, commented: “We have serious concerns that if a fire was to break out in the Macclesfield Grosvenor Shopping Centre some people would simply not be able to get out.”

Health and safety fears at Grosvenor shopping centre

Grosvenor shopping centre, Cheshire

Mr Gibbins further added that wheelchair users have not been banned from entering Grosvenor shopping centre but Cheshire Fire Authority need to see sufficient evidence that proves there is effective means of evacuation for all potential Grosvenor shopping centre visitors, especially those with mobility issues.

The decision to install security guards – who inform wheelchair users they are not allowed in and lead them to individual shop doors – at the shopping centre entrances, has been met with indignation.

The Manchester Evening News reported that one local wheelchair user, named Diane, protested outside the shopping centre. Diane said: “I don’t know what has changed, but I’ve been coming here for years without any problem. The disabled and elderly are being discriminated against. It’s outrageous.”

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