A DISABLED man has hit out after a pub boss put a sign up saying wheelchairs and pushchairs were not allowed in.
Derek Winlow, landlord of The Promenade, on Sunderland’s seafront, has since apologised for the sign he put up during the airshow weekend, insisting it was not meant in malice and was due to health and safety concerns.
However, Jeffery Branson, who has been confined to a wheelchair since breaking his back in an accident 22 years ago, branded the sign “discriminatory”.
The 56-year-old, who has been paralysed since he fractured his spine in an accident in Monkwearmouth Colliery two decades ago, said: “It’s a disgrace. Nobody chooses to be in a wheelchair.
“I’ve seen a lot of difference over the years. The majority of pubs and restaurants are accessible now, which is great. Yes, there are some that are not, but they are usually in very old buildings. But this is ridiculous.
“If you went into that pub, the chair you sit on would take up the same space as mine.”
The sign also provoked an outrage on social media, and review sites including tripadvisor.co.uk.
Paralympian and disability rights campaigner Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson also said she found it “offensive”.
Despite efforts to contact Mr Winlow, he was unavailable for comment, but he told the BBC the sign was put up due to a “high volume” of visitors for the airshow.
He said: “We decided we would give assistance to anyone who had any sort of disability or children with them, that if they wanted to enter the pub, we could dismantle whatever they were in and store them away safely until they left.
“This sanction was taken because of the high numbers. It was quite a hurried decision and the safety aspect overruled anything that could have been offensive.”