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Disabled shoppers lose their car spaces

  • March 12, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

By Jen Rivett

Disabled shoppers must share their spaces with mothers and children, a superstore has told its customers.

Tesco in Abingdon, provides 36 bays for customers who display a disabled badge and 21 spaces specifically reserved for parents with young children.

But a row has broken out after the supermarket said disabled users now had to share their spaces.

Tesco spokesman Taryna Surtees said: “We took a pragmatic view – spaces at the store are quite often left empty, so we have allowed this.”

John Weston, 65, who suffers from cervical spondylosis and has used a wheelchair for the past 20 years, has shopped at the Marcham Road store twice a week since it opened more than two decades ago.

He said: “It is just not fair on us. It is not just me, but the other disabled people. Why are we being punished?”

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Mr Weston, of Latton Close, Southmoor, said on several occasions he had not been able to shop at the store as there was nowhere to park. He said: “If the spaces say disabled, then they are for the disabled.”

Ian Scott, customer service manager, wrote to Mr Weston from Tesco’s customer service centre in Dundee. He said: “We have always kept our disabled and mother and toddler spaces separate. However, our store managers can make their own decisions as a store policy based on the needs of their local customers.

“Unfortunately, if a store manager takes the decision to allow mother and toddlers to share disabled spaces we are unable to override their local decision.”

Nigel Carter, chairman of Abingdon disability group, Phab, urged Tesco to monitor the situation so disabled shoppers did not lose out. He said: “I can understand disabled people being upset if they have their own transport but cannot get into Tesco because there are not enough bays.”

Ms Surtees said: “As with all our policies, we regularly review them.”