Disabled in row with Bluewater
PUBLISHED: 15:14 03 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:44 23 August 2010
A DISABLED man is preparing to fight a legal challenge against Bluewater shopping centre for charging almost £25 to use a mobility scooter. Rosie Grewal, 45, said he shocked and totally dismayed when he was charged nearly £25 to use the scooter during
A DISABLED man is preparing to fight a legal challenge against Bluewater shopping centre for charging almost £25 to use a mobility scooter.
Rosie Grewal, 45, said he 'shocked and totally dismayed' when he was charged nearly £25 to use the scooter during a visit in August last year.
Since then he has been in talks with bosses to axe the charging scheme and has received support from the North Kent Disabled Foundation.
But despite being assured the scheme would be dropped he claims he will now be forced to make a challenge in county court to force action.
Mr Grewal, from Hayes, Middlesex, said: "It is a disgrace. It's disgusting. When I went there and found out about the charges I was astonished, shocked and totally dismayed. There are 4,000 free car parking spaces and yet they charge us for the scooters. Why should I have to pay for my disability?
"In my eyes, it's discrimination."
Mr Grewal, who suffers from spinal bifida and hydro syphilis, intends to register his complaint at Uxbridge County Court by next week.
He claims bosses promised to scrap the charges in December last year and again in February following pressure from Mr Grewal, but says nothing has changed.
But Mr Grewal, who works for the NHS, said: "They seem to be stalling this has gone on for too long."
Tony Woods, a member of the North Kent Disabled Foundation, also feels the charge - a £15 membership fee and £8 usage fee - constitutes discrimination.
The 60-year-old, of King Edward Avenue in Dartford, said: "I have been charged too and I think it's disgusting. It's discrimination. They don't charge able-bodied visitors so why do they charge disabled visitors? I haven't been there since and I won't go again."
In a letter sent to Mr Grewal in January, Bluewater retail manager James Waugh wrote: "...I can confirm that it remains our intention to offer a free wheelchair and scooter service at Bluewater.
"The reason for the delay beyond our proposed start date of December 2008 has been due to a protracted legal process with our intended supplier.
"We do, however, anticipate bringing this to a conclusion within the next week or so with a launch date in February."
A Bluewater spokesperson confirmed that they will be stopping the charges soon and that they are currently finalising the change.