Wheel­chair ban is lifted at Grosvenor

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

ASHOPPING cen­tre has lifted its ban on peo­ple with mo­bil­ity prob­lems.

Bosses at the Grosvenor Shop­ping Cen­tre prompted anger on Jan­uary 28 af­ter stop­ping dis­abled peo­ple and par­ents with more than one child from ac­cess­ing the shops.

It fol­lowed a re­port from the Cheshire Fire Au­thor­ity, which raised ‘se­ri­ous’ safety con­cerns be­cause cer­tain shop­pers could not evac­u­ate un­aided via the stair­cases.

An in­terim so­lu­tion for the cen­tre to train more fire mar­shals en­abled the cen­tre to re­open fully on Fe­bru­ary 5.

Now fire en­gi­neers have be­gun work­ing with the shop­ping cen­tre’s own­ers Eskmuir, to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the prob­lem.

This process is ex­pected to use state-of-the-art fire modelling to map po­ten­tial blazes in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the cen­tre and iden­tify the safety mea­sures that are needed.

This could see the in­tro­duc­tion of fire­proof glass or new dis­abled ramps.

It is no know when this work will be com­pleted.

Ed Kennedy, man­ager of the Grosvenor Shop­ping Cen­tre, said: “The Grosvenor Cen­tre man­age­ment can con­firm we have agreed mea­sures with Cheshire Fire Au­thor­ity, which will en­able us to open the cen­tre to all cus­tomers.

“We would like to thank our cus­tomers for their pa­tience dur­ing this time.”

This week it has also emerged that the visit by fire in­spec­tors was in­sti­gated by a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for changes to the cen­tre.

The ban made na­tional head­lines and even prompted a let­ter from Lord Holmes, Dis­abil­ity Com­mis­sioner at the Equal­ity and Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

He said: “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.

“We have asked Grosvenor to send us writ­ten con­fir­ma­tion of what ac­tion they are tak­ing to meet their le­gal obli­ga­tions and en­sure that peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties can use their shop­ping cen­tre eas­ily and safely.”

Mean­while, fire of­fi­cers met with peo­ple af­fected by the ban at The Dis­abil­ity In­for­ma­tion Bureau in Mac­cles­field on Fri­day where they an­swered ques­tions over the is­sue.

‘We have agreed mea­sures.. [to re­open]’

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