Hotels and Disability

Hotel told to pay £3000 over disabled access

October 27 2006

A wheelchair user won a landmark legal action against a Scottish hotel which failed to provide adequate disabled access.

Isaac Curran was awarded £3000 compensation from the Redstones Hotel in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, in the first case of its kind in Scotland to be brought under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Mr Curran, 57, who suffers from a degenerative spine condition, showed the hotel had not made "reasonable changes" to accommodate disabled customers after encountering a series of problems during a visit.

He was offered a £50 voucher by its owner but now the hotel has been ordered to pay £3000, plus £2000 in legal expenses, and has also applied for planning permission to improve disabled access.

Mr Curran, from Craigneuk, near Wishaw, Lanarkshire, said: "I'm delighted they eventually realised their responsibility and did something about it.

"Disabled access is not something I take for granted but this is a big company which can afford to make the changes needed. They could have had it done for a couple of thousand pounds. Now it has cost them a lot more.

"Councils have made tremendous changes to comply with the law but some companies just can't be bothered. Maybe this will send a message to them that they need to be."

Mr Curran, who was in the Army for 27 years, raised the action after he visited the hotel for his sister-in-law's 50th birthday. Although his relatives had phoned ahead to warn staff at the hotel's Papillon Restaurant of the need for disabled access, when they arrived there was no ramp and he had to be carried into the property.

The dining room was up a further five flights of stairs. During his meal, Mr Curran also needed help into the toilet, as the only disabled toilet was in the ladies.

He said: "I was obviously upset and absolutely mortified. When I wrote to ask how they were going to comply with the law, they just wrote back saying it was an old building and gave me a £50 voucher for a meal in another restaurant. I wrote back three times asking what they were going to do."

Eventually, the hotel told him to contact its solicitors, so Mr Curran enlisted the help of the Disability Rights Commission. Mr Curran recently set up Wheelchair Woodturners workshops and will use the compensation to buy a lathe suitable for wheelchair users.

Disabled charity slams top hotels

Previously a disability charity had claimed that leading hotel chains are failing to provide facilities for Britain's 10 million disabled people.

In a survey conducted on behalf of the charity, the Leonard Cheshire charity gave the Ramada Jarvis, Moat House and Best Western chains just over 50% of the points awarded in their survey.

Thistle got the highest mark for disabled facilities.

The survey found less than half of lifts had Braille buttons to help the blind.



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