Better latte than never! Disabled man welcomes ramp at Coffee#1
DISABLED David Hughlock enjoyed coffee for the first time in a Gloucester cafe thanks to a new access ramp and is calling on more city centre shops to follow suit.
David, who is paraplegic, has been campaigning to get a ramp installed at the Coffee #1 shop in Northgate Street since it opened last year.
He said: “I have been emailing planning officers to get this sorted as I was unable to get to the till in the shop.
“Before the ramp was installed it had three steps which I could not climb as I use a wheelchair.
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“I went in the shop the other week and noticed the changes had been carried out, which is really good to see.”
The shop was closed for two days in May while work was carried out to remove the steps and replace it with a ramp.
David, from Tewkesbury, added: “I was talking to a member of staff in there who said their footfall had increased since the new layout, because it was more accessible.”
He is now calling for similar thought to be put in at some of the city’s other businesses.
His call was echoed by Ray Peart, a former soldier blinded in Northern Ireland, who lives in Abbeydale. He said: “Some of the flooring in the shops can be a problem for me, there are shops in Southgate Street with tiles which cause problems with the ankles.”
Geoff Billett, owner of the Mobility Disabled shop in Hardwicke, said: “Many newly-built shops are now conscious of those in wheelchairs but sometimes it is hard to make room for ramps in older shops. However, there is always room for improvement.”
Coffee #1 manager Jessica Allsop said: “We did get people telling us about the problems with the steps, so we removed them and since then we have seen a lot more mums with pushchairs and people in wheelchairs come in.
“The shop is a lot more user-friendly and I think that is the way to go now.”
City council leader Paul James welcomed the cafe’s move and added: “A lot of buildings in the city centre are listed ones with restrictions on what work can be done. Conservation officers are always happy to give advice on this.”