Supermarket giant Lidl have come under fire from a south London couple who say they were put off shopping at the stores in their area due to lacking facilities for disabled people.
Sutton man Chris Kybert said he and his wife Jackie were disappointed after outings to several Lidl supermarkets in the area uncovered what they said were insufficient provision for people like Jackie with physical disabilities.
Speaking with the Sutton and Croydon Guardian, Chris said:
“My wife is unable to visit the local Lidl stores because there are just not the facilities for disabled people. Of the ones I have visited, they don’t even provide a wheelchair. It’s inaccessible to her.
“The other supermarkets we use have mobility scooters and wheelchairs. These stores don’t have either,” Chris said.
He added that he would consider going if the disabled access at the Lidl stores near him and Jackie improved.
“They’ve just opened a new one within five hundred yards of our house… I’m just wondering how many other people are like us who feel the same.”
The Sutton and Croydon Guardian contacted Lidl , who have recently opened a number of new stores in the region, for a comment on the disabled access to their stores in the area.
A spokesperson offered the following statement in response:
“At Lidl GB, careful consideration is given to the accessibility requirements of our customers during the design phase of our stores, with adjustments being made where possible. We would like to assure local residents that our new store on Purley Way North and our store on Whitehorse Road both feature disabled parking bays immediately outside the store entrance, which are at ground level with no steps, to assist easy access. Our supermarket on London Road also has disable parking spaces, with an accessibility ramp to the store. Whilst our store on Church Street does not have a customer car park, it does offer direct easy access from the street.
“In our stores, we have assistance bells at the front, which when rung will notify a member of the team who can provide further assistance. Our chip and pin machines are installed in a way to ensure that they are detachable so that they can be accessed by all customers and our stores are also carefully designed to not have any counters or raised service areas. We pride ourselves on forming close connections with our customers, and our store teams regularly provide additional support for individuals that they serve on a regular basis. We have a robust employee training programme in place which emphasises the importance in helping our customers and includes specific instructions for providing additional assistance where support is appropriate including guidance around our stores, help in selecting products, packing at tills and loading into cars.”