Antiques anger - new inquiry demanded

A CAMPAIGNER is calling for an official investigation into the service provided to disabled people by the proprietors of an antiques shop.Leona and Kirk Bracey, who run the Cobwebs Antiques Centre at Felixstowe, were criticised some weeks ago by the parents of a disabled child for refusing access to a pushchair.

A CAMPAIGNER is calling for an official investigation into the service provided to disabled people by the proprietors of an antiques shop.

Leona and Kirk Bracey, who run the Cobwebs Antiques Centre at Felixstowe, were criticised some weeks ago by the parents of a disabled child for refusing access to a pushchair.

A sign outside the premises at that time said "No trolleys, buggies, dogs, pushchairs or wheelchairs".

The word "wheelchairs" has now been deleted after Mr and Mrs Bracey found it would contravene disabled rights laws, which came into effect on October 1.


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But the couple said that while they would still prefer wheelchair users to be served outside the shop - because of the danger of breaking valuable antiques - they were no longer banning them from entry.

Michael Flounders, a disabled rights campaigner who has been in a wheelchair since breaking his neck in a fall, said he was referring the case to the Disability Rights Commission.

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Mr Flounders said he had written to Mr and Mrs Bracey after reading about their stance on disabled access.

The letter said: "It would be in your interest to have an audit done on your premises. This would give you an idea on what you need to do to comply with the new law."

Mr Flounders said yesterday that it might not be necessary for Mr and Mrs Bracey to provide for wheelchair access to all parts of their shop.

"The crucial thing is that disabled people should not be denied services available to others," he added.

Mr Flounders said he had not received a reply to his letter, sent on October 2, and was now contacting the Disability Rights Commission.

"If they don't sort it out then the new law will not be working. I do not want to see people prosecuted but denial of access to services is a violation of people's rights," he added.

But Mr Bracey said yesterday he and his wife had not received Mr Flounders' letter.

"We are not refusing entry to wheelchair-users and don't have any disrespect for them, but we don't exactly welcome them inside the shop because of the risk of damage to our stock," he added.

"There is a bell near the door which can be rung for assistance. If they do come in then the people concerned must be prepared to pay for breakages."

nWhat do you think of the notice? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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