Havant shop says sorry after it blocks car space for disabled

APOLOGY The awning which was put up over the disabled parking space outside Halfords in Havant
APOLOGY The awning which was put up over the disabled parking space outside Halfords in Havant
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Halfords has said sorry after it covered up a disabled parking space with an awning.

Disability sports ambassador Geoff Holt was one of several people who were angered after the tent – a mobile repair shop – was placed in a disabled parking space at the front of the store in Solent Retail Park, Havant.

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He wrote about the incident in his online blog and attracted a big response.

He told The News: ‘It was really busy and there was nowhere else to park.

‘I spoke to one member of staff and asked him if they normally covered up parking bays, to which he replied “It’s only one parking space”.

‘I thought that was an outrageous thing to say.

‘I did go to speak to the manager but he couldn’t care less.

‘It showed contempt for disabled parking spaces.’

Mr Holt is an ex-professional yachtsman who was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984.

In 2007, he became the first disabled sailor to sail single-handedly around Great Britain.

He added: ‘I have a business that does disability awareness training. They ought to get me in there to teach their guys about it.

‘They just failed to understand the needs of disabled people.’

Mr Holt said the awning was up for at least two hours while he was in Havant Retail Park on Sunday, September 3.

The News revealed previously how other people had approached Halfords’ management on the same day, also angry about the awning.

Shopper Ernest Read said it had been there at least four hours and the manager said staff were not available to move it.

But a spokeswoman for the company said it had been up for only an hour and was moved as soon as the complaint was made.

The firm said in a statement: ‘It is not our policy to block disabled parking bays at any of the stores.

‘We apologise on this occasion that our policy was breached and the tent was erected in error over a disabled bay. As soon as customers brought this to our attention, it was moved.

‘Halfords “wefit” tents are erected outside stores so that trained staff can fit a wide range of products whilst customers wait.

‘This wefit service is hugely popular with our customers and we fit many thousands of products on customers’ vehicles all around the country.

‘We apologise again for any inconvenience caused.’