A COWES bakery has come under fire for refusing to let wheelchair users inside the premises.

One customer was told he could not sit inside High Street bakery Well Bread, and was instead asked to sit outside. His family said he was unfairly treated due to his disability.

A sign in the bakery window reads: "Sorry folks. No doggies plz in the bakery, we have an open kitchen, also due to restricted space/ health and safety and fire regulations, we are unable to cater for wheelchair/ motorised scooters/ prams/ pushchairs in our seated area. Outside seating, however, is available.”

The Equality Act requires service providers make 'reasonable adjustments' to accommodate people with disabilities.

One of the directors of Well Bread said the business was committed to ensuring the health and safety of its 'many satisfied' customers.

Chris Doggett, 25, from Luton, was waiting for his Red Jet home after a week-long holiday on the Island with his family, when they decided to visit the bakery for lunch on Friday, August 16.

They were shocked when they were told they could not come in.

Tubbs Doggett, Chris’ father, said: “My wife came out of the bakery, clearly really shocked and upset.

“I asked what was going on, and the owner said, 'read the sign.' I said, 'pardon?' And she said again, 'read the sign.'

"That was it. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“There was no explanation. No apology. She said it was a health and safety issue.

“She was so rude. It felt like we were just being told to go away. It was awful.”

Chris has Sturge-Weber Syndrome, which causes weakness in one side of his body. He is able to walk for short periods of time but requires a wheelchair for longer periods.

Well Bread director Anita Fitzgerald said: "Well Bread takes its commitment to the health and safety of all its customers very seriously indeed.

"It offers alternative seating for its many satisfied disabled patrons."

She said 'non factual abuse and harassment' posted online in the wake of the complaint had been referred to the police and legal representatives.

A spokesperson for Disability Rights UK, a charity that supports people with disabilities, said: “Under the terms of the Equalities Act 2010, all service providers are required by law to provide reasonable adjustments for customers with disabilities.

“Sitting outside is not a ‘reasonable’ adjustment, it is a materially different experience.

“Using health and safety to keep people out is unacceptable.

"Health and safety is there to keep people safe, not to keep people out.

“Small businesses rely on the will of the public. This is an issue of customer care, of treating people with dignity and respect.

"Treating people like this is not acceptable.”

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