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Concerns over mobility issues at Witney post office
5:40pm Wednesday 30th April 2014 in News
A POST office has been labelled as “unfriendly” for disabled people.
The former Crown branch in Market Square, Witney, closed last month with its services relocated to a counter at the WHSmith store in the Woolgate Shopping Centre.
But disabled people have said the branch is not easy for them to use, with insufficient space for wheelchairs to turn.
Witney Town Council has written to the Post Office with people’s concerns.
Leg amputee Deborah Wiffen, 46, of Highworth Place, mainly uses a wheelchair but can sometimes walk short distances.
She said: “I get a little bit of freedom by walking but if I fall over I could jeopardise losing my other leg. They should have had a hard-wearing carpet strip leading up to the counter so you have a clear way in and out.
“I only use it if I absolutely have to because it’s so dangerous.”
Councillor Brenda Churchill, who uses a mobility scooter, said she has been forced to use the Burwell Farm branch because she struggles to move around WHSmith.
Mrs Churchill said: “You despair sometimes because they never ask or consult to see if what they’re designing is good enough for the people they are designing it for.”
A petition against the relocation was signed by 1,200 people concerned there would be large queues at the new counter.
WHSmith spokeswoman Rosalind Cole said: “The store layout was reviewed, in a consultation with disabled customers, to ensure good levels of accessibility with improvements including installing new automatic doors, making walkways wider and removing free-standing display units.”
She said Post Office staff try to help disabled customers whenever possible and they would continue to review the store layout and staff training.
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