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Manchester Disabled People's Access Group

Manchester Disabled People's Access Group

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Access Surveys

Access Survey Access Survey Results

Access Surveys 2002 – 2004 (Manchester retail, tourist and hotel venues)

In 2002, we carried out a series of surveys in Manchester, covering hotels and tourist venues, selected by Manchester City Council (MCC), and shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs along “key routes” in Manchester City Centre. Hardly anything has changed since then. In 2003, we carried out access surveys of banks and cinemas.

The surveys were carried out to minimum access criteria, agreed jointly by MCC and MDPAG for the projects, but many places may have to make more adjustments to meet the requirements of disabled people under the Disability Discrimination Act, from 1st October 2004.

For more details of individual venues, contact MDPAG at

Key problems that were identified, which generally excluded premises from gaining an access symbol, in venues, shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, banks and tourist venues included:

  • steps and no ramps or poorly designed or steep ramps;
  • poorly designed toilets, which were not accessible;
  • split levels with stairs and no lift access, which excluded visitors from services and products;
  • lack of circulation space in aisles and other public areas;
  • obstacles in routes, such as advertising boards, display units and storage facilities;
  • fixed or inappropriate seating which don’t allow people to sit with friends or family or are inaccessible

There were many other access issues noted, which would have to be adjusted by service providers to ensure that their services are accessible and meet requirements of disabled people under the Disability Discrimination Act, including:

  • no nearby parking and drop off areas and parking areas not clearly marked with spaces wide enough to meet regulations;
  • heavy doors;
  • unclear or inappropriate signage and wayfinding;
  • poor lighting;
  • reflective surfaces;
  • use of artificial floor coverings and some with confusing patterns;
  • lack of information in alternative formats;
  • many lifts too small for scooter users and some power chair users;
  • no independent lift access in some areas, requiring staff assistance;
  • very few accessible baby changing facilities;
  • doors and equipment not highlighted;
  • poor layout of rooms, bathrooms and toilets;
  • no induction loops or other hearing enhancement systems;
  • poor reception and payment facilities, or help desks, including very few low level payment desks in shops and banks;
  • small changing rooms in shops;
  • few confidential meeting rooms in banks with access for assistance dogs and wheelchair users and with induction loops;
  • no accessible fire exits
  • street furniture not highlighted, creating barriers;

Access survey results


26 hotels were visited at the request of MCC, 16 were accessible, 10 were not accessible. (only 61.5% were accessible).

Tourist Venues

19 tourist venues were requested and surveyed, 14 were accessible, 5 were not accessible. only 73.7% were accessible

Cafes, pubs & restaurants

255 venues, only 60 were accessible, 195 were not accessible. (only 23.5% accessible)


Excluding the Arndale Centre, of 433 shops visited, 166 were accessible, 267 were not accessible. only 38.3% accessible


20 banks were visited, 5 were accessible, 15 were not accessible. only 25% accessible

Arndale Centre shops

Common problems identified in some shops:

  • no level access from Market Street;
  • split level facilities to products, with steps and no lift;
  • fixed seating in cafes and restaurants;
  • obstacles in doorways and aisles;poor signage.
Please contact us for details of our surveys.

Recommended Links

MAIN Project Community Network for Manchester & Disabled People’s Network
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