Flintshire wheelchair man loses pub toilet claim

  • February 19, 2010
  • Bruce Bromley

A Flintshire wheelchair user has lost his discrimination case against a pub in Holywell over using its toilet.

David Jones, who has multiple sclerosis, brought a county court claim against the Cross Foxes public house.

But it was dismissed by a judge in Caernarfon who said it was unreasonable to make changes inside the pub which did not have outside disabled access.

Mr Jones was ordered to meet the legal costs of the Victorian pub’s landlady, Susan Williams.

Judge Anthony Seys Llewellyn QC made the ruling after hearing that 55-year-old Mr Jones had been earlier offered £2,000 by the landlady and her husband to settle the claim.

Costly modifications

Delivering his decision, he said: “After very considerable reflection it seems to me it’s not reasonable to require the publican of this Victorian building to provide wheelchair access within the pub when there is no obligation to provide wheelchair accessibility at the point of entry.”

The court heard that an independent surveyor had estimated that it would cost in the region of £37,000 just to provide wheelchair access to the pub.

A further £5,000 would be required for internal modifications to the toilets.

However, the judge said it was regrettable that the pub owners had been earlier advised not to respond to a letter from Mr Jones, inviting them to suggest access plans and also complete a disability discrimination questionnaire.

The judge added: “I profoundly wonder whether matters would have followed the same course if there had been a reply to Mr Jones’s inquiries.”

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Jones said he had no regrets about bringing the case to court.

“I had a principle in mind and I followed it through,” he said.

“Wheelchair users have a right to a toilet. I bought the beer. I got to the top of the Grand Canyon but I couldn’t go to the toilet in the pub.”