A Kent retailer is embroiled in a legal fight because his local council has refused him permission to install a disability access ramp.

Michael Wood, who runs Walmer News in Walmer, twice submitted plans to Dover District Council to replace the steep steps outside his outlet, once last year and again this summer. On both occasions the council rejected his application on the grounds that a ramp would “constitute a loss of the historic fabric”.

However, Michael, who says he is only trying to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, has now appealed. Michael, who has spent £500 on his proposals and has a petition of support from 200 local residents, said: “I cannot see any ‘historic fabric’ in the area as new walls and railings have already been put in place, along with different style shop fronts.

“I’m duty bound to improve access to the store and if my appeal fails I will be taking it to the European Court of Human Rights, because people have a right of access to premises and to have a choice to shop.”

Dover District Council said it was not appropriate to comment in detail on the case as it was subject to appeal.

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