Wheelchair user bemoans lack of disabled access after Exmouth town centre shop incident

PUBLISHED: 15:30 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:09 15 March 2019

Wheelchair user Mike Moxey at his Exmouth home. Picture: Callum Lawton

Wheelchair user Mike Moxey at his Exmouth home. Picture: Callum Lawton

Archant

A wheelchair user and former policeman has lambasted the 'basic fight for dignity' he and other disabled shoppers are facing across the UK - including Exmouth.

Mike Moxey, who is living with progressive multiple sclerosis, said he was unable to access an Exmouth shop to look at some trousers because his power wheelchair could not go over a raised step in its front door.

Mr Moxey claims a woman at the shop told him they would not be installing a slope in the entrance, as the business was closing. However, when he pressed for more information, Mr Moxey said the woman could not confirm when the firm would shut down – just ‘possibly some time this year’.

Mr Moxey says he was forced to wait in the cold while his wife purchased the trousers.

“The year still has a long time to run,” Mr Moxey said.

“Why has the UK taken so long to embrace the Equality Act?

“There are very few decent restaurants and pubs which allow wheelchair users the ability to share their premises with non-disabled people. Even if we can get our wheelchairs in their doors, try finding a wheelchair accessible toilet.

“Refurbishments should allow adaptations to be made but that doesn’t always happen either.”

Mr Moxey, of St John’s Road, has lived in Exmouth for the last 18 years – and has seen his condition deteriorate rapidly in that time.

When he first moved to the town, he was able to walk around independently with a stick, but as the years went by, he was forced to use two sticks, then a buggy and eventually his power wheelchair.

The 65-year-old said that most shops in Exmouth do cater for disabled people, but some eateries in particular still have a raised step in their doorway.

His message for those with no disabled access is: ‘be conscious’.

“We are talking about mothers with pushchairs,” he added. “People with shopping trolleys.

“Business owners should be aware that steps can be a huge barrier. It does not take a lot for a builder to slope off a step, or to buy in a ramp.

“It should not have to cost a lot to make the impassable passable.”

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