Accessibility (shop fronts and modifications)

New shop fronts or modifications to existing shop fronts should accommodate the needs of people with mobility or sight difficulties, elderly people, children and people with prams, buggies or shopping trolleys. This leaflet describes some of the features which may, in most cases, be required.

The Local Planning Authority may refuse planning permission where no provision is made to improve or maintain accessibility to shops. Alternatively, where a proposal doesn't make provision for good access, planning conditions may be applied. With regard to listed buildings different criteria may apply. Access requirements should be taken into account as far as practicable with close consideration given to the preservation of the special character of the building or area.

What is required?

  • Level access or a ramped alter-native to a stepped entrance
  • Entrance with a level threshold
  • Entrance doors with a minimum clear opening width of 800 mm
  • Doors that are light and easy to open
  • Two way swing or self opening doors where possible
  • Long glazed vision panels in doors that enable children and wheelchair users to be seen
  • Door handles, bells and other door furniture at no greater than 1 m above the ground - lever handles are preferred to knob handles
  • Entrance lobbies, if provided, with adequate space for wheelchairs and double buggies to manoeuvre without obstruction
  • Toilets, where appropriate, which cater for the needs of disabled people
  • A ramped alternative to a stepped entrance
  • Doors with adequate opening width, door handles at an appropriate level and a level threshold
  • Car parking bays for users with disabilities close to an accessible entrance to a building (not just for Orange Badge holders)
  • Dropped kerbs and tactile paving, particularly at road junctions, crossing points and car parks
  • Unisex toilets for people with disabilities
  • Reception areas with sufficient circulation space and desks with recessed areas for the knees of wheelchair users and lowered sections
  • Good balanced lighting
  • Induction loops
  • Audiovisual alarms and information systems
  • Handrails to changes in level
  • Clear routes for blind and visually impaired people
  • Lifts of an appropriate size for major changes in level

Signposting to entrances to buildings to car parking spaces for people with disabilities and raised letters on signs. Symbols and contrasting colours allow blind and visually impaired people to interpret them

Do not...

  • Install a revolving door with no alternative
  • Use frameless glass doors
  • Install large areas of glass without clearly indicating its presence with the use of coloured panels or signs and kickplates of at least 300mm in depth
  • Install a self-closer that is so strong as to hinder access by disabled or elderly people
  • Provide an entrance with two doors, unless a wheelchair user can gain access without having to open both
  • Use large areas of glazing or mirror glass - it is dangerous
  • Ignore size recommendations. Ramps that are too steep are no good at all and toilets should not be too small (or lack adequate handrails)
  • Allow dark interiors
  • Have reception desks with high counters and security screens
  • Have "back door" entrances for people with disabilities
  • Install revolving doors with no alternative

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