Access isn't only about the inside of a building
Often people forget about access to the area outside their shops or businesses. When you are looking to improve your access you have to also look outside and think about how customers arrive at your premises.
Check the following
- Are there any obstructions in the door way preventing people from getting to your entrance? If you use signs outside or display goods (e.g. flowers, plants, fruit) is there enough room to get past? On bin days try and ensure there is enough room for wheelchair users and Assistance Dog owner to pass by and enter your premises.
- Can your front door be opened easily? Heavy or stiff doors can be a real obstacle.
- Is there Blue Badge Parking outside for disabled people to park close by?
- Are there dropped kerbs to allow wheelchair users to get from the parking space to the pavement?
- Are the dropped kerbs actually flush to the kerb or are they uneven. There are lots of badly made dropped kerbs around the UK that are unusable for many disabled people.
- Look to see what condition the pavements are in? Are there cracks? Is the surface uneven?
- Your local council's Highways and Byways are responsible for fixing any issues such as dropped kerbs and crossings. They will also fix broken paving slabs if they are causing a hazard outside shops. Most councils also have an Access Officer who can help.
- If you have access features such as a portable ramp or disabled entrance at the rear of the building, make sure you have a sticker in the window to let customers know otherwise they will go to some where else where they know has the right access.
This is a really useful website that allows you to report problems such as cracked pavements, direct to your local council.
This website is for the Department of Transport and provides information on Blue Badge parking.
To find your Local Access Officer look on your council's website for their contact details.