What Is ‘Reasonable Access’?

For Kirsty Ann Hughes, it’s taking no personal responsibility to check things out and expecting everyone to warn her of potential issues up front, without, of course, embarrassing or upsetting her:

Kirsty-Ann Hughes, 20, suffers from a condition called hypermobility, which makes her joints dislocate under pressure. She cannot walk very far and struggles with steps, which can make her hip joints click out of place.

She and her family travelled to York on holiday in May, and visited Pizza Hut in Pavement.

Following her meal, Kirsty-Ann asked staff where the disabled toilets were and was informed there were not any.

Ooops! This is something that is pointed out on their website, though, as a commenter points out:

paggy66 says…

So let us take some of the advice on offer on this page and check Pizza hut out before we go. On their web page it has a wheelchair symbol for the shop so it must be disabled friendly? Only when you click on the info and map icon does it say access ramp but no disabled WC. I think that is misleading.

Is it misleading? What are the rules governing the wheelchair icon display?

If you can display it simply because you have a ramp, then no.

Kirsty said: “I asked for the manager and said this wasn’t acceptable.

“At the time, it was quite quiet and everyone knew what was going on and everyone was staring at me. I was really embarrassed, to say the least, and very upset, obviously.”

And you wouldn’t have been at all ‘upset and embarrassed’ if a waiter had told you ‘You probably don’t want to eat here, as we’ve no disabled toilet’…?

The premises is in a listed building. And we all know how hard that can be to change:

John Fowler, head of building control at City of York Council , said: “Even though the premise is a listed building this does not absolve the restaurant from any Disability Discrimination Act responsibilities.

“We have advised the customer to raise her concerns with the company’s head office.”

Well, why don’t you pop down and have a word with your staff? Since it seems you’re part of the problem after all:

A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut said: “The comfort of our guests is a top priority for us, and we have spoken to M Hughes on several occasions and apologised for her experience at our restaurant.

“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive business, which is why work is ongoing between us, our landlord and the council to gain permission to alter the property to include accessible facilities.”

So tell your staff to sort it out quicker, John…

Kirsty-Ann, who is from Holywell in North Wales, contacted Pizza Hut, and said: “They said it wasn’t acceptable and offered me a gift card, which I sent back.

It’s not the issue or solution – they don’t have a disabled toilet and they need one.”

They are trying to get one. They are doing their best.

How about cutting them a little slack? Exhibiting some of the tolerance you would wish for yourself?

The spokeswoman also said signs in the restaurant had been updated, and staff had been re-trained to advise guests with accessibility requirements to visit the Clifford Street branch, 300 metres from The Pavement, or the firm’s other two restaurants in York, which have step-free access to toilets.

Naturally, in the comments, the battle rages:

paggy66 says…

Pizza Hut are in the wrong not the customer. They are a very large multinational and as such have no excuse for not complying with the DDA. When they first looked in to opening the store DDA should have been considered and if the building could not be adapted to meet DDA then they should have looked elsewhere.

Yup, if it’s not 100% perfect, let’s not have it at all! That’s ‘reasonable’, eh?

Woody G Mellor says…

My step father is in a wheel chair and always does his research regarding access for the disabled before ‘visiting’ anywhere, It’s not rocket science, just a bit of common sense.

Oh, Woody! If only it was common.

Even AndyD says…

Must admit, I winced a little when I read this story. I live with disability every day (through my two children) and am constantly amazed at how much provision there is for them. I appreciate that this is a result of certain people standing up and being counted, not putting up with discrimination, but I dunno – there are exceptions, the whole world cannot be adapted. And perception is important, I might be wrong, but I think you can soon alienate people and wither sympathy by wanting perfection everywhere. Just my opinion.

Not just yours, AndyD…

Von_Dutch says…

They’re not being actively discriminated against – so it’s simply not comparable to racism etc as a few ridiculous posts claim.

It’s not like the manager of Pizza Hut said “Get out – we won’t serve the likes of you”.

Not everywhere in York (with the old buildings are they are) can be made compatible – hence the ‘all reasonable steps’ part in the legislation. Yes, i’d have expected Pizza Hut to have a disabled loo admittedly. But it’s not like they were refusing to install one and sticking 2 fingers up at the disabled. All their other restaurants have them.

Oh, I’ve no doubt these responses will be viewed as further evidence of how the disabled are ‘demonised’…

Kirsty Ann herself turns up in the comments to make her objections known:

And as I said before not being from york I dont know what is 3m away let alone 300m.

I am clearly disabled as i am in a wheelchair therfore when I went into the resturant they should have then told me there were no facilities. This did not happen.

Now say i was from york and left to use the bathroom during the meal is that not classed as theft???

And been as I rang pizza hut on several ocassions and on each occassion got told something different, I had had enough and so started to take the matter further.

And I understand the world isnt always fair and have found this out on more than one occassion. If in the beginning Pizza Hut had told me the truth then I would have dropped it However i had to do my own reseach and find out they were lying.

When I asked for answers each time I spoke to someone they told me something different. That is when I decided to bring it to the attention of the public.

Pizza Hut is a big corpiration and if they lie about this then what else are they lying about?

Probably what goes into their pizzas, Kirsty.

What, you thought that was chicken..!?

4 comments for “What Is ‘Reasonable Access’?

  1. ivan
    August 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    So she is disabled. Does this mean that the rest of the world owes her anything – NO.

    She is suffering from ‘poor me’ syndrome as well as ‘I want my five minutes of fame’.

    What she is actually doing is giveing other disabled people a bad name.

  2. Tatty
    August 11, 2012 at 1:46 am

    been (sic) as I rang pizza hut on several ocassions and on each occassion (sic…jeeez twice in the same sentence !!) got told something different, I had had enough and so started to take the matter further.

    ….Following her meal, Kirsty-Ann asked staff where the disabled toilets were…

    Eh ? She could have been absolutely dying for a pee by then so why not ask before ? Better yet, trundle round and see for herself ?

    Here we have a case of “Want” as opposed to “Need”. Two very different things.

  3. August 11, 2012 at 6:36 am

    “John Fowler, head of building control at City of York Council , said: “Even though the premise is a listed building this does not absolve the restaurant from any Disability Discrimination Act responsibilities”

    In fact, it pretty much does in reality. This is York City Council trying to dodge the bullet. I’ve dealt with this legislation since its inception and you won’t get consent to do anything which alters the fabric or affects the look of the place and if internal features are listed, you are even more restricted.

    Don’t you want just one corporation to respond, not with PR speak when confronted with nonsense, but with reality?

  4. August 11, 2012 at 6:38 am

    An eaxample of how reasonable the government is when it comes to planning laws?


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