Faulty car park lifts leaving disabled shoppers stranded

Out-of-service lifts at Drovers Way car park.

Out-of-service lifts at Drovers Way car park. - Credit: Matt Adams

Malfunctioning lifts at a city centre car park are leaving disabled motorists stranded.

The lifts at Drovers Way only work intermittently, and the one in the middle car park has been out of service for the best part of a year.

This means motorists with disability issues are unable to access Shopmobility, the charity service which provides electric scooters and wheelchairs to allow easier shopping in the city centre.

One of the charity's volunteers, Rachel Shorey, explained: "The lift next to our services is out of order and has been for three weeks! We have been told the council is awaiting a part but they have no timescale. This happened several times last year and meant the lift was out of order for up to six months.

This means disabled people can not access our services if they can’t park on the ground floor. The council always boasts about how they have increased the disabled bay in the two car parks on every floor but that isn’t any good if you have limited mobility.

"It's been made worse by shutting Market Place off to cars, as this also closed off all the disabled parking to access Specsavers and other relevant services."

St Albans Shopmobility manager Juliet Prodger added: "Our customers have been greatly affected by the Drovers Way car park lift being out of action.

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"There are very few ground floor disabled spaces. This means it can be very difficult for our customers.

"Shopmobility volunteers endeavour to meet the needs of our customers, for example by taking mobility scooters and wheelchairs to customers in their cars, and by driving up the car ramps to the next floor or above. The situation has proved impossible for some customers and they have chosen to shop in other towns."

Shopmobility is based in Drovers Way car park.

Shopmobility is based in Drovers Way car park. - Credit: Matt Adams

Christine Traill, strategic director for community and place delivery for St Albans district council, said: “There have been intermittent issues with the lifts at the Drovers Way and Russell Avenue car parks and we continue to work to resolve them.

“Two of the three lifts are working while the third lift has been out of service since late June due to a problem with the doors. Our contractor is waiting for replacement parts to arrive and is hopeful the lift should be repaired and back in service by the end of next week.

“Unfortunately, this lift is closest to the disabled bays and Shopmobility’s office. We have put up an entrance sign warning people of this and have staff on hand to help anyone who calls for assistance.

“We can only apologise for the inconvenience that has been caused by the disruption to the lift services.

“The needs of less able people, including Blue Badge motorists, are among our prime concerns. For example, we are creating additional blue badge bays in Chequer Street to improve access to the city centre and these will be in use shortly."