Wheelchair user’s ‘disgust’ over disabled access at Sheffield post office

A ‘disgusted’ wheelchair user says he was unable to use a Sheffield post office due to its poor disabled access.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 11:10 am
Nick Tryon outside Hillsborough Post Office (pic: Marie Caley)

Hillsborough Post Office moved earlier this year from the B&M store on Middlewood Road to the former NatWest bank next door.

There are steps at the new location but when consultation was held about the move customers were assured a portable ramp would be available.

However, when Nick Tryon visited this week he claims he was not told about this portable ramp and was unable to get into the branch.

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The 57-year-old former council housing officer, who was a Thalidomide baby left with stunted limbs due to the drug his mother was given during pregnancy, believes the post office should never have been allowed to move into a building without permanent wheelchair access.

Post Office said the installation of a permanent ramp was ‘actively pursued’ but had not proved possible due to the lack of pavement space.

The company added that a portable ramp is available upon request and it has contacted the postmaster to ensure customers are made aware of this.

Mr Tryon claims Post Office bosses should have known a permanent ramp would not be possible because NatWest previously sought to install one but was was unable to do so for the same reason.

He said: “I was disgusted because I couldn’t even get inside. I was told they were waiting to get a ramp installed but they didn’t tell me there was a portable ramp available.

“I felt sorry for the member of staff who came out. When I told him I wasn’t happy about the post office being in there he said I wasn’t the only one complaining.

“Post Office is by law supposed to provide disabled access at all its stores and its head office should be ashamed at the lack of thought given to wheelchair users here.

“It needs to be looked at urgently because there are a lot of people in the area who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters.”

A Post Office spokesman said it was sorry to hear about Mr Tryon’s experience.

“Easy access for all our customers to our branches, including those who are elderly or disabled, is very important to us. We strive to ensure every one of our 11,500 branches meets the requirements set out in our Accessibility Guide,” he added.

The Equality Act 2010 states that businesses must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure people with disabilities are not placed at a ‘substantial disadvantage’.

Andrew Crooks, of the charity Disability Sheffield, said: “Post Office is a huge company which should be able to put more thought into the premises it uses to ensure equal access for all.

“We will be offering the manager of this branch a fair access audit which can help them deliver a more equitable service.”