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Friends call for action over disabled access to coffee shop

A disabled woman and her friend said they were left feeling angry and frustrated after visiting a local coffee shop and discovering that the disabled access had been blocked by chairs and tables.

Kirin Marwaha, 29, who was born with cerebral palsy, had arranged to meet her friend outside Costa Coffee on Harlaxton Road, in June.

After being dropped off by her mum, Kirin and her friend Kelly Cronogue quickly discovered that the main disabled access was inaccessible.

Kelly, 28, of Grantley Street, Grantham, said: “There is a dropped kerb outside Burger King which would allow disabled access to Costa, however the pavement has been blocked by tables and chairs which have all been screwed down to the floor, therefore I had to lift Kirin’s wheelchair up on to the pavement with her mum who had luckily stayed behind to help.”

Kirin Marwaha and Kelly Cronogue outside Costa in Harlaxton Road, Grantham. (4472039)
Kirin Marwaha and Kelly Cronogue outside Costa in Harlaxton Road, Grantham. (4472039)

The group’s difficulty didn’t go unnoticed by the staff at Costa Coffee.

Kelly added: “They were really apologetic and said that they knew there was a problem. They explained that the table and chairs used to be removable but now they are all screwed down.”

One of the staff members helped Kelly to lift Kirin’s wheelchair off the pavement as the pair were leaving.

Infuriated, Kelly, 28, contacted Costa to demand action be taken.

She added: “I reported the incident to Costa who said a ramp would be installed by the middle of August, however I haven’t seen one when I have been back to check several times since.

“I have reported it to the Equality Advisory Support Advice.”

The door bell installed outside Costa in Harlaxton Road. (4472037)
The door bell installed outside Costa in Harlaxton Road. (4472037)

A spokesperson from Costa Coffee said: “We are pleased to confirm that a portable ramp and a bell have been installed at Grantham Costa Coffee to assist with access into the store. All of our store teams are happy to assist customers with any special requirements in order to create a warm and welcoming environment to enjoy their favourite Costa Coffee.”

In response, Kelly said: “If it is positioned on one of the silver posts this is not suitable as it would mean a disabled person would have to sit in the middle of KFC drive-thru to wait for assistance which is a huge safety issue and unacceptable.”

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