Apr 132016
 

At the Harewood Arms, there is a stone wheelchair ramp in the car park, to get into the bar. I’ve been a lot over the years – most memorably to celebrate my degree.Humphrey_Richard_Woollcombe_Smith

Last time I attempted to go (with a friend I don’t get to see very often) the door at the top of the ramp was locked. There was a sign saying to use another door (which had steps.) There was no means of contacting staff, so another customer went in and got help. Staff eventually found some keys, though they initially brought the wrong ones.

I complained. I was told that they had been “requested” to keep the door locked “unless needed”. They said that because they “gave (us) access within a matter of a few minutes of (our) arrival” there was no problem. They had locked the door due to its use “by smokers who congregated outside” – causing complaints from guests in rooms above the entrance, and potentially being off-putting for customers entering or leaving the pub.

I felt this was not an adequate reason for keeping the only accessible bar entrance locked, so I took Sam Smiths to court. I lost; the Judge felt that having to wait “a matter of a few minutes” to get in wasn’t “substantial disadvantage“, and in any case was justified by their need to deal with the problems caused by smokers. He dismissed out-of-hand my suggestion of simple measures such as a sign requesting people not to smoke on the ramp, or provision of alternative smoking facilities – he didn’t take any evidence as to the potential efficacy of such measures.

So I phoned the Fire Service. I was concerned that the only accessible entrance was being kept locked, and that the occupiers couldn’t readily find the key to open it. People could be trapped in a fire. The fire service said that they were already aware, and that as a result the pub now keeps the door unlocked.

I was going past the pub today so I thought I’d have a quick shufty:

2016-04-13 16.57.21The door’s open, marked as “entrance to bar“, with the ramp unobstructed and with a new doorbell to boot.

Why was that so difficult, then? Why did they claim to me, and to the Courts, that it simply wasn’t possible to keep this door unlocked, because of the danger of marauding smokers?

Pig-headedness really knows no limits at Sam Smiths.

We already knew that Sam Smiths don’t give a stuff about their local community:

Or for their tenants, staff, managers, or anybody else really:

We now know that they don’t give a stuff about disabled people either.

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