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12/06/2017

Brewdog ordered to reverse removal of accessible toilet from flagship pub

BrewDog has been accused of “outrageous” treatment of disabled drinkers after it removed an accessible toilet from a flagship pub.

The north-east beer company has been slapped with a legal notice by Aberdeen City Council demanding the facility be replaced.

Enforcement action was taken after a customer complained the easy-access WC had been stripped from its bar on Aberdeen’s Gallowgate.

And the city’s disabled rights watchdog expressed incredulity the Ellon-based firm had shown such a lack of awareness.

Michael Hutchison, a member of the Disability Equity Partnership, said BrewDog should be ashamed of the move.

The SNP councillor said: “This is absolutely outrageous and beyond belief.

“BrewDog as a business leans heavily on its ‘equity for punks’ branding. But there is nothing equitable about this.

“I fully expect they’ll be working hard to fix this as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for BrewDog responded it was “working closely with the planning officers to come up with a solution”.

She added: “We hope to sort something out very soon.”

The brewer opened what it calls its “pioneering flagship” branch in 2010 – the first of what have become dozens of outlets in the UK and across the world.

DEP vice-chair Ron Holding said: “Quite what benefits could be realised by removing such a basic and fundamental facility for the disabled patron is beyond understanding.

“The continued absence of awareness that still exists on the most basic issues concerning disability in this day and age is disappointing.

“We would like to think this happened solely through ignorance and was not done to intentionally disadvantage.

“So hopefully, this can be viewed as a lesson learned in that supporting facilities of this sort only serves to grow the customer base of a business that considers the diverse needs of others.”

A council spokeswoman confirmed an accessible WC was installed in 2010 and was included in subsequent licensing plans.

She added: “When building standards were made aware of the removal, they met with the management of BrewDog and it was agreed that either the accessible toilet should be reinstated in its original location or a suitable accessible WC provided. An enforcement notice was then served.

“BrewDog have now submitted a building warrant application which incorporates a unisex accessible WC.

“This is currently being assessed.”