Manchester’s Trafford Centre has taken to Twitter to respond to criticism it received over disabled access over Christmas.
The centre’s Christmas grotto had been placed over disabled parking spaces, meaning access has been reduced over the festive period.
Responding directly to one comment, it said: “We want to remain accessible for everyone, which is why we have more than 290 disabled parking spaces. A very small number of those, and a few parent and child bays, are covered by the grotto at the moment, but there’s no shortage of disabled parking at the centre.”
The statement continued: “We’ll convert other parking bays nearby into designated disabled spaces shortly, and we apologise for any short term inconvenience. Blue Badge holders can find more info on our website or speak to a member of staff about any accessibility requirements.”
In a report on the Manchester Evening News, Taking the Dis, an equality campaign group, accused the centre of failing to think about disabled visitors.
Julian Sorfleet from the group, told MEN: “Even if it had only been one space, it means one more person is going to struggle with disabled access. It also covers some parent and child spaces, so it’s not just looking at it from a disabled view.”
Adding: “It’s not a major issue for able bodied people that they are covered, but for disabled people, and people with children it does make a lot of difference.”
The group was formed to campaign for better accessibility and highlight the issues faced by disabled people every day, because of poor access.
Sorfleet went on to add that the group was pleased the centre had listened to concerns, was taking steps to add more parking bays.
He said: “We want to work with companies where access is an issue for anyone with any disability. We don’t want to fight them, working together is our main aim”.