Furious shoppers slam department store for putting winter festival over car parking spaces | The Sun

CUSTOMERS arriving at a popular shopping outlet were shocked to find staff had covered over a large section of disabled parking bays in order to set up its 'Winter Fest'.

Shoppers arriving at the Trago Mills retail outlet in Merthr Tydfil, South Wales, earlier this week were left outraged at not being able to find a place to park.

A series of wooden sheds and metal barriers had been erected over the accessible spaces in the store's car park to make way for the seasonal 'Winter Fest' event that runs from November 26 to January 8.

The event will include a covered ice rink, food and drink stalls, a Santa's grotto and a fun fair.

It says on the store's website "Trago has always been focused on bringing something extra to the community" and the Winter Fest is the result of having "listened to our customers" and "deciding to take it up a notch".

Whilst many Christmas shoppers may be looking forward to the festive event, in the meantime the store has faced criticism from shoppers who have been left inconvenienced.

Jade Barnett from Caerphilly accused the firm of being anything but inclusive after blocking off the access she needed to take her elderly father Geoffrey shopping.

Speaking to WalesOnline Jade said: "I drove over there with my dad who, for as long as I can remember, has been a blue badge holder.

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"He suffered an accident at work ages ago and that left him with difficulty walking," said the 28-year-old training company tutor.

"Then, last year, he had a stroke which made his mobility a lot worse. He's really unsteady on his feet as a result."

Jade added: "So, with an entire disabled parking section being out of use – along with the fact the bays near the front of the store were already full – I had to use a much tighter regular space.

"That made it really difficult to get Dad out of the car.

"But when I mentioned it to a member of staff they told me a number of people had made the same complaint.

"I can't understand it because Trago's got such a huge car park, the Winter Fest could have gone down the quieter end that's further away from store – what they've done just doesn't make sense."

People with disabilities can be faced with a number of problems when it comes to parking.

A couple in Manchester were fined £170 for parking in a disabled bay, despite having a disabled badge.

One disabled Tesco shopper was fined for overstaying half an hour in the shop carpark – despite displaying her blue badge.

A spokesperson for Trago Mills confirmed that the parking spaces had been closed off to "accommodate the fireworks and prepare for winter fest."

They added: "Temporary disabled parking is now available in the coach park and in front of the garden centre.

"In short, we have exactly the same amount of disabled parking available temporarily in appropriately sited areas."

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