Student tackles accessibility on Mill Road

Image credit: 磨坊路

A Homerton College undergraduate has submitted 28 letters of complaint, and seven court actions, to businesses on Mill Road who are not complying with the legal requirements for disabled customers.

It was recently reported that as a result of not complying with the legal requirements, the owners of Carlos Cafe, has been orderd to pay £6,500 in compensation, and an extra £2,500 to cover costs. 

Cambridge News reported that the student says she has been addressing businesses in the area "informally" since 2010 – and points to the Equality Act, which 'requires shops to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled people.' She has complained of a culture of harrassment, which saw the Café violate "[her] dignity or created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment', on two separate occasions, in addition to failing to have a ramp." Leighton also added that Kahraman had not contacted her after the judgement, noting that the Equality Act has existed for 22 years, with Kahraman not taking the steps needed to comply.  

Local disabilities access campaigner, Anne-Marie Masterson, expressed upset at the judgement, having been a patron of Carlos and saying, “I have never had a problem getting into the cafe and Carlos or one of his staff have always helped me if I needed to get in." At the time of the complaints, members of the Mill Road Traders' Association warned that they might have resulted in some of the businesses no longer being able to stay open. Piero d'Angelico, vice chairman of the Association, called an emergency meeting for closed traders, and said to Cambridge News: 

 “We are having an emergency meeting tonight to see if we can help those affected by these lawsuits.

"I was told Carlos was very emotional when he closed. The place has been cleared. It's empty now.” 

It was reported by the Cambridge News on Tuesday that the emergency meeting resulted in Carlos Café being offered an emergency lifeline of £10,000 through pledges. It may yet reopen, but other businesses on Mill Road that have been sued are as follows: Culinaris, Charisma Hairdressers, the Amnesty International Bookstore, Zi’s Piri Piri Restaurant, Nutters Hair Salon, and Penguin dry cleaners. These were the businesses that did not respond to her letters of complaint, or move to make their businesses more accessible. 

The headline for this article was changed on Wednesday 22nd November.

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