Store giant HMV under fire over disabled access

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A music-lover is taking on entertainment giant HMV because he says it is discriminating against disabled people.

Martin Long, who has multiple sclerosis, says the firm's store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, is letting disabled people down by putting DVDs and CDs on the second floor.

The shop has a lift but it is only available for staff use.

Mr Long, 44, who is a retired health and safety inspector and is now chairman of a Portsmouth MS support group, said: 'I'm an avid music collector and there is no reason why HMV need to discriminate in this way.'

'By putting the majority of their stock upstairs they are preventing anyone who is in a wheelchair, is less able, or has a pushchair from browsing their shop.'

Mr Long, of Shakespeare Road, Fratton, said: 'I asked a shop assistant if there was a lift but he said it was only for staff use. I don't think they're trying to make it easy for people in my position at all.'

'It's a shame they decided to move everything upstairs in the first place.'

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 says that businesses should take reasonable actions to make sure disabled customers can access their goods or services.

Martin has written to HMV's head office but has so far not received a response.

When approached for a comment, HMV said concerns about access to its Commercial Road store have led the firm to consider moving it to a building with a more suitable location.

Spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: 'We do our best to look after all our customers' needs, and our store-team is always happy to help provide a service by alternative means, such as bringing a selection of products downstairs for a customer.

'In the case of our store in Commercial Road we carried out a feasibility study in line with DDA compliance requirements and were advised that installing a passenger lift would not be viable given the nature and construction of the building. We also responded to customer feedback by moving the children's section downstairs to the ground floor to give improved access for parents with pushchairs and buggies.'

He added that the company owns another shop in Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays which does have wheelchair access.

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