Yesterday a lady on a mobility scooter accompanied by an older lady in a wheelchair stopped outside the shop and asked loudly "Can we get in your shop?". I went outside to explain to her that as the step into the shop is only a few inches tall we didn't have a ramp for wheelchairs. She then informed me that I was breaking the law and that she would have happily spent lots of money in my lovely shop but couldn't get in there. She then proceeded along the street to Jim and Sue's cafe next door and I was a bit miffed to see that she managed to get off the scooter and go inside to order.
Muttering to myself I went to the Post Office to send a few internet orders and asked Malcolm, the Postmaster, if he thought we were breaking the law by not having wheelchair access. He thought not and that the law only applied to banks, Post Offices and other businesses offering a public service. When I got back to the shop I googled the issue and found, to my complete surprise, that indeed wheelchair access to any shop has been the law since 2004. I then looked online for wheelchair ramps and found a portable lightweight aluminium one for £70 which I then ordered (it's just arrived). I then went along to Jim and Sue's to apologise to the lady and she admitted that she was only so vociferous about it because not only so few shops comply with the law but also because she was only registered disabled a couple of years ago and was still coming to terms with the complete frustration she felt with all aspects of her new life.
What astounds me is just how many shops do flout the law, probably unwittingly.