Aisle angst for disabled Eastbourne shopper

ASDA store Sovereign Retail Park Eastbourne August 15th 2013 E33105P
ASDA store Sovereign Retail Park Eastbourne August 15th 2013 E33105P

An Asda customer says he is disgusted after changes at the store meant his disabled mother could no longer use some of the aisles there.

Bryan Berry and his 85-year-old mother Elsie have been using the store at The Crumbles Retail Park in Eastbourne for years for their food shop.

But he got in touch with the Herald after noticing metal bars at the bottom of the check-out, where some of the stock is displayed, meant the Asda trolley Elsie slots on to here wheelchair no longer fits through the aisle.

Asda has responded by conceding that, following a series of improvements at the Sovereign Harbour store, some of the check-out aisles were installed at a sight angle.

They have promised to see if they can remedy the problem.

Since the issue first arose Mr Berry, who is his mother’s carer, said they now have to use a wide aisle that has recently been introduced at the store which people who are not disabled also use.

He said, “We have been shopping at Asda for four years and my mum has been in a wheelchair for two.

“When I went to pay the aisle was too narrow and I couldn’t get through, they had put bars at the bottom. I had already unloaded all the shopping.

“I think it’s discrimination and disgusting.”

Mr Berry, who lives in Langney, said he has made a complaint about the issue.

Andrew Devoy, a press officer for Asda based in Leeds, insisted that the store was in no way discriminating against their disabled customers since the company meets all the necessary legislative requirements for disabled access in the store.

“We are required to make reasonable adjustments to make our goods and services available, and we do this by having both accessible an dwide aisle check-outs in all our stores - the Eastbourne store currently provides 18 and if a fix is put in place, this will be 22.

“We are constantly looking to improve the shopping experience for our customers and this is no different at our Asda store in Eastbourne.

“Recently the store has undergone some improvements, which included new check-outs.

“Unfortunately, it has been brought to our attention that four out of the 22 check-outs were installed at a slight angle, preventing people with wide pushchairs and wheelchairs from using these aisles.

“We do currently have 18 check-outs to meet the requirements for access and our colleagues are vigilant in directing and helping our customers to complete their shop as quickly and as comfortably as possible.

“We are currently reviewing to see if the further four check-outs can be adjusted.”