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TX: 16.07.04 - ACCESS TO SHOPS - PART 2 

PRESENTER: PETER WHITE
THE ATTACHED TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT.  BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF MISHEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS COMPLETE ACCURACY.

WHITE

Now how are Mik Scarlet and Carolyn Atkinson getting on in their wheelchair tour of Camden High Street in London ? They have access consultant Vic Goodwin with them and don't forget that by October 1st all premises must be accessible to disabled people. Last time we heard from them they were in need of a coffee. 

ATKINSON

This is Inhibition Café, it's an independently owned, fairly average high street café selling sandwiches, what not, how is it for you? 

SCARLET

Well I must admit it's not the most accessible of places. It's got a kind of - it's not a very high step but it's quite a pronounced step with a lip, I would probably use the doorframe to pull myself in but the main scary thing is that directly opposite the door at the moment is a flight of steps that go down into the basement where they've obviously got the actual kitchen. It would take some serious stunt wheeling to not end up, you know, joining the chef for lunch I feel. And I would imagine that someone with a visual impairment would be almost doomed because I'm sure that if you didn't really know the stairs were there, you'd just see the bar at the back of the room that is where they kind of serve the coffees from and you'd aim for it, there'd be just this sort of like little guide dog wandering about going - Where's my owner? - because he would be with the chef as well. 

ATKINSON

You work here and you're obviously - you're speaking on behalf of the owner. Are you aware that in October the law changes in terms of access and what you have to be able to provide to people with disabilities? 

CAFE WORKER

No actually you are the first one to tell me about it, I didn't know anything about it. No we have to do something about the steps and may be - no idea how to show it to blind people that there is a flight of stairs. 

GOODWIN

The frontage of this café is made up of various panelled doors which you can open up in summer on hot days. Now you should take advantage of that and actually utilise one of the other panels as the main door which isn't directly over the flight of stairs. 

ATKINSON

So that's very simple and it's very cheap? 

GOODWIN

Well yeah, completely no cost at all, you're just changing the - which panel you open. And maybe you change the door handle or something and move the furniture but literally it's at no cost. And that's the issue - there are various options for all of the access problems that are identified - some that are going to be high cost and some that are going to be no cost at all. Think about how people maybe communicate with the staff - now can they see the menu? If they can't see the menu, which is a chalkboard written in that scrawley café manager type writing, now not all people would be able to see that, so they will need to communicate with the staff. Now if they have a hearing impairment, for example, how do they then communicate? There are various ways of dealing with that - you can talk about technological things like induction loop systems but it might be a simple thing like a notepad and pen for example. 

SCARLET

The future is bright - he says wearing his shades. I do think that things are going to get fantastically better because I think that once service providers start having to think about disabled people they'll actually start meeting us. And then they'll start seeing that we have money to spend and that we are the kind of people that they want to have in their establishment. I think that so many people have a kind of image of disabled people as being a bit kind of lumpy and hideous and we're not - some of us are but then hey we look at you lot wandering about on your legs with your fully working eyes and think - urgh. And I hope so because I want to go shopping as much as possible. 

WHITE

Mik Scarlet. So a deadly set of stairs at the cafe and Mik Scarlet, Vin Goodwin and Carolyn Atkinson next - I think they're off to the pub for a beer. 

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