Caffe Nero: Golders Green campaigner angry after wheelchair ramp removed from store due to refurbishment and its return delayed
PUBLISHED: 17:28 23 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:38 23 August 2019
A disability access campaigner was stunned to be told by staff at the Golders Green Road branch of Caffe Nero that they "had lost" the ramp that helps wheelchair users get into the shop.
The Ham&High has been told the ramp was not in the store after being moved during refurbishments, but it is now back in place.
Matthew Kayne, 36, has had cerebral palsy since birth and requires permanent care.
He lives off Golders Green Road, and has also used a campaign group called Golders Green: Access All Areas - which he founded in 2013 - to lobby Barnet Council to improve a frequently damaged stretch of pavement. He said using the pavement outside of the King Solomon Hotel was "very difficult" in his chair..
Matthew told this newspaper: "I went to the Caffe Nero and wanted to get in. The bell eventually worked but when I asked for the ramp they said they didn't have it anymore.
"I want to be able to go in there and have a latte and a sandwich like anyone else.
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"But it's not just the cafe, it's along the road. I've contacted the council a lot about the pavement."
Caffe Nero explained to this newspaper that the ramp had in fact been removed from the store during a refurbishment, and it has now been returned to the store.
A spokesperson for the chain told the Ham&High: "We did have an issue with the disabled access ramp not being available in the store. This was because the store underwent a refurbishment and lots of fixtures and fittings were removed and stored for the work to take place. The disabled access ramp was one of those items, and it should have been returned to the store far quicker than it was."
Before Caffe Nero explained they had replaced the ramp, Mike Freer MP (Con, Finchley and Golders Green) said he would have raised the issue with the brand. He added: "As for the pavement, the difficulty is that he front of the hotel is a large crossover, cars will continually damage the pavement.
"As fast as the Council repair they are damaged again. The solution would be to put barriers across to stop vehicles but the hotel would legitimately object."
A Barnet Council spokesperson added: "We are aware of this problem. We are exploring various ways in which we can make the pavement more wheelchair accessible, including the installation of bollards to stop vehicles parking illegally and damaging the footway. We are considering various funding options for this costly work to proceed."