Danske Bank ‘committed to improving disabled access’

January 29th, 2013 Category: Building Management

A high street bank has insisted it is committed to making its branches accessible to disabled people.

Danske Bank was criticised recently when wheelchair user Michael Holden was unable to gain access to its Maghera outlet.

Speaking to the Evening Extra show on BBC Radio Ulster, he pointed out that he went to Maghera because there is no disabled access at his local branch in Saintfield either.

As a result, Mr Holden has contacted the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to raise his concerns.

Danske Bank has responded by stressing its commitment to improving the accessibility of its branches for wheelchair users.

"Following works in recent years, the vast majority of our branches and head office locations are already DDA compliant," it stated.

"The work required to make each location wheelchair accessible varies according to the individual physical premises and street access."

Danske Bank also pointed out that planning permission can sometimes be required in order to make these changes to a building.

The financial services provider added that a temporary ramp has now been installed at Saintfield, while additional alterations will be carried out in the near future.

Work to open up the Maghera branch to wheelchair users is also being planned at the moment, Danske Bank confirmed, although it noted "significant works are required to achieve DDA compliance".

Mr Holden's woes at the Maghera outlet were made worse by the fact it was raining when he visited. Members of staff came outside and held an umbrella over him to allow him to make lodgements in the street.

He said the Danske Bank workers were very "embarrassed" about the situation and told him they had already complained to the head office about the lack of provision for wheelchair users.

It might therefore be in the best interests of consumer-facing businesses to bring in facilities management specialists to see where they can improve disabled access. After all, this type of criticism can be a PR disaster for a firm that severely dents their public image and reputation.