There must be access for everyone on High Street...

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A SHOP boss claims people in wheelchairs are being disadvantaged by disabled drivers parking their cars in the pedestrianised area of Kirkcaldy’s High Street.

Calum McRae, manager of mobile phone shop Everything Everywhere, says inconsiderate Blue Badge holders are parking their cars too closely together and don’t leave enough space for people in wheelchairs or pushing prams to pass between them.

Now he has called on disabled drivers to show more respect to others – as well as the retailers.

Mr McRae says the problem is at its worst on Tuesdays, when Blue Badge holders have all-day access, and he says he has been verbally abused by some drivers when he has asked them to leave more space between vehicles.

His comments follow a consultation by Fife Council into access to the High Street which ended last week.

A report was originally due this week, but the Press understands it is now likely to be January before it is available.

Mr McRae said: “We’ve had a customer in a wheelchair having to go down to the other end of the High Street because of all the cars tightly parked together.

“People with prams and buggies can’t get through either and its affecting trade.

“Retailers are trying to do their best for the town centre, and we’re trying to sell our products, but that’s very difficult if customers can’t get access into the stores.

“The pivotal thing is to allow access to the doorways to the stores.”

Marking out designated parking bays might be a solution, but Mr McRae also suggested greater use of mobility scooters provided by Fife Shopmobility would reduce the need for cars to access the pedestrianised zone.

“All day access on Tuesdays is too much,’’ he said. ‘‘It should be within 9.00 a.m. and noon.

“For those who find it difficult to walk around the High Street, we have mobility scooters. Why are they not being better used?”

The consultation looked at various options for allowing vehicles access to the High Street. This included access for residents and delivery and service vehicles, as well as Blue Badge holders.

Currently, Blue Badge holders are allowed access from 5.00 p.m. to noon every day, and all day Tuesday. Their level of access is likely to be maintained or increased.

Campaign group Access4All, in its submission to the consultation, claimed many shopkeepers had said Tuesday was their busiest weekday due to all day access for Blue Badge holders.

It also stated that Shopmobility, while it was a great service, did not suit all disabled people and many shops were also inaccessible inside for a scooter.