Wellingborough disability campaign group scores a victory in KFC battle

Aran Whiting says the campaign group has got the result it wanted.
Aran Whiting says the campaign group has got the result it wanted.

A newly-formed Wellingborough disability rights group that took on KFC has won its first victory.

The fast-food chain will be installing a ramp outside its branch in Cambridge Street in Wellingborough town centre after Access for All staged a protest outside the food joint earlier this month.

The group, which has backing from the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council, had threatened the fried chicken specialist with legal action if it did not comply with the Equality Act 2010.

Under the law, businesses must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that people with disabilities can access the same services as someone who is not disabled.

But those using wheelchairs had not been able to access the shop because of a step.

In a statement, a spokesman for the multinational company said: “We want all of our guests to be able to access us easily and safely, so we’re really sorry if the layout or design means this isn’t the case in some of our restaurants. We’ve looked into a solution for our Wellingborough restaurant and hope to have a portable ramp in place very soon, whilst we look at how we can improve our restaurants in the long term.”

Aran Whiting, who formed the group said on the victory: “A fold-down ramp is what we had in mind. It’s good KFC has taken on board what we have said, and that they want to accommodate for people with disabilities.

“Let’s hope other shops follow suit.”

And the group, which estimates that half of town centre businesses in Wellingborough are not complying with the law, is not stopping in its efforts to improve access for those in wheelchairs and with mobility problems.

The next step is planning a training day for shops and taxi firms which could include asking shop users to try and navigate the town in a wheelchair.