Town centre street 'lacks disabled access'

Leah Scowcroft (left) has had problems with wheelchair access in shops down Berry Lane, Longridge.
Leah Scowcroft (left) has had problems with wheelchair access in shops down Berry Lane, Longridge.

A carer who takes pensioners on daily trips throughout Longridge has raised concerns over the town’s disabled access facilities.

Leah Scowcroft, who runs Leah Victoria Cares at Longridge Business Centre in Kestor Lane, has been taking clients trips throughout Longridge as residents gear up for Christmas.

Nigel Evans MP

Nigel Evans MP

But while using wheelchairs to help her elderly clients to get around town easily, Leah found that the high street, Berry Lane, is suffering from an apparent lack of access for users who have to use the likes of wheelchairs to get about.

Leah said: “It was only when I started this extra service two months ago that I noticed the lack of access on Berry Street. We can’t seem to go in shops anywhere.”

The 26-year-old added: “There was one occasion where one of my clients wanted to go into a shop to buy a Christmas present but couldn’t because of the step-only access.

“It resulted in the shop attended having to come outside to take their order and payment.”

Leah, who lives in Longridge, added: “I know another girl who has had to wait outside her local Chinese takeaway when ordering food because of the lack of access.

“Raising this issue is not about causing a row with businesses but bringing about awareness to the issue.”

Speaking to the News, Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: “Universal access to shops and amenities for wheelchair users is imperative in towns like Longridge, not just at Christmas but all year round.

"It is crucial that we give wheelchair users the opportunity to keep as much of their independence as possible, not just to partake in day-to-day tasks, but also to promote their social well-being.

“It is no secret that many of our elderly are lonely, and improving their access the local community will help to ease this problem.”

Adam Giddins, owner of Longridge Art & Framing in Market Place, said: “It’s a really hard issue to manage for business owners.

“Me and my partner have recently had a baby and just last week she’s been talking about how difficult it is getting in and out of shops with the pushchair.”

Adam added: “For a lot of these buildings on Berry Lane, they are old residential houses with small doors and high steps that have been since been converted into shops.

"There seems to be very little that can be done to some of these properties.”