A DISABLED man has spoken of his dismay following the withdrawal of help given to him by staff at a Basingstoke shopping centre.

Peter Payne used to receive assistance from a member of staff to wheel him to areas of Festival Place, as he struggles with the sloped layout of the centre.

But the 67-year-old, who had a stroke last May which left him needing to use a wheelchair, has now been told that the help he received will no longer be available when he visits the centre. He currently visits Festival Place three times a week to shop and use the bank.

The grandfather-of-two, who lives in Barber Road, in Brighton Hill, told The Gazette: “The manager told me they can’t push me round any more. They said they were short of staff, but I don’t make unusual demands and I just ask for help to get me to the bank.

“The slope down to the bank is so fast, I cannot stop myself but I can push myself on to Santander. I can’t understand why they are withdrawing the service they have provided me.”

He added: “I will have to pay a carer £15 an hour just to be there, and it is an awful lot of money – I just can’t afford that.”

Festival Place centre director Steven Connolly said: “We are aware of Mr Payne’s request for assistance navigating an area of Festival Place Shopping Centre.

“Customer service is very important to us at Festival Place and we always strive to go the extra mile for our shoppers. Members of our staff have helped Mr Payne numerous times previously, but this isn’t a service we can guarantee.

“Festival Place operates within the requirements of the UK Disability Discrimination Act, and as such is fully accessible to wheelchair users.

“We have also shared the details of Shopmobility, a local charity service offering a wide range of mobility scooters and wheelchairs for those with mobility challenges, with Mr Payne.”