SENT 19 April 2013

Craig George Williamson, Delmonica’s (GC0786)
Mr Kenneth Purdie, Polo Lounge (GC0787)

To whom it may concern


I contact you regarding the above licensed premises’ in relation to the requirement to make adjustments to your services/facilities to meet the needs of disabled persons. The requirements, your obligations to make those adjustments and the term ‘disabled persons’ is defined in the Equality Act 2010 and in guidance issued by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

As a disabled person I have visited Delmonica’s, Riding Rooms and the Polo Lounge and have found the facilities to be woefully lacking in adjustments for disabled persons. No lift, ramp, automatic or manual stair lift equipment was installed to assist with entry to and exit from any of the three access and egress points and the shared, single bathroom facilities in the lower basement area do not, I believe, satisfy the requirements of the Equality Act in any case as
according to four members of staff asked, no accessible bathroom facilities exist.

I would be grateful if you could confirm:

(1) When the last disability audit was carried out on Delmonica’s, the Polo Lounge and the Riding Rooms; in addition, details of the findings of that disability audit,

(2) What accessible bathroom facilities (if any) are provided in each establishment? If an accessible bathroom is provided where is this located and is access open to all or is the door locked? If the door is locked have you adopted the RADAR scheme for access or how does a patron obtain a key?

(3) What is your policy with regards evacuation/fire safety/health and safety in relation to disabled patrons or those less able to evacuate themselves without assistance,

(4) What the policy is for disabled persons storing medical (or essential) items within the cloakroom, e.g. items such as insulin and syringes which may require to be urgently accessed. What if the disabled person loses their ticket but requires access to the items immediately? What if the disabled person needs to store a walking stick, walking frame, wheelchair or similar item… is it your policy to charge for these items to be stored?,

(5) What is your current policy with regards admitting persons with assistance dogs, guide dogs and dogs for the hearing? Is this policy communicated to all staff?

(6) What is your current policy in relation to assisting disabled persons who order at the bar but cannot carry their drink or food order back to their table? Is this policy communicated to all staff?,

In addition to my own experiences, I have been contacted by two other disabled patrons, one of which visited Polo Lounge last week and had to be decanted from his wheelchair before being carried up the stairs by those around him, while his friend carried up his wheelchair.

The other patron (who has cerebral palsy) described his getting out a taxi outside Polo Lounge with three friends before making their way over to the main doors. A door steward put his hand out in front of the patron and said “Not tonight Pal, you have had too much to drink already by the looks of it” to which the patron explained he had cerebral palsy and doesn’t drink. The steward then told him to
wait with a female steward while he disappeared inside before returning moments later and saying “No pal, I just checked with the gaffer, we can’t guarantee your safety in an emergency so it’s against health and safety so you cannot come in. You will need to find somewhere else”.

The patron was left embarrassed and upset having made his way into town with friends to enjoy his friend’s birthday at the Polo Lounge. I was shocked and saddened to hear of these cases and that in 2013, in the ‘gay scene’ in Glasgow, disabled people are still enduring humiliation of this nature while the facilities remain woefully inadequate to support their needs.

Service providers, organisations, businesses and public bodies may not refuse to provide access to their services or facilities by imposing a blanket ban on disabled persons ‘for health and safety’ purposes. This generalised stance has been repeatedly held by the courts to be tantamount to unlawful