Supermarket customers ‘facing obstacle course’

A supermarket on an estate with elderly and disabled residents has complained that customers have to tackle a virtual obstacle course to get there.

Shopkeepers at the Gold Star Food Centre in Holland Walk, on the Elthorne Estate, say people with mobility needs are struggling to get to the shop.

For years residents have had to negotiate a cluster of metal barriers that block wheelchairs and scooters on one side – and now they say Homes for Islington (HfI) building works have all but blocked access with hoarding on the other side as well.

Shopkeeper Kazim Karakus, 49, whose brother owns the store, said: “It used be very open on one side at least. Since the work started, now even that side is very narrow and hard to access.

“We have had lots of disabled and older people complaining to us, but we can’t do anything.”

Mr Karakus added that a gateway to the block opposite has been closed – meaning its residents have a long walk round to the shop. He is also worried that the building site makes the shop less visible.

“The police blocked the gate because they said groups of young people were loitering there,” he said. “It’s too far for all the older people in that block to walk to us now.

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“The obstacles, the works, the closed gate – it all adds up and affects the business. I would say we have lost �10,000 turnover a week because of it.”

A HfI spokesman said: “On projects such as this one to build much needed council housing, we are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum. We have not changed the access for disabled visitors to this shop during the works. We’ve been talking to the shopowner to make sure his shop is still as easy to visit as possible, and have included signs for the shop on the contractor’s hoarding.”