States is a wheelchair accessible venue - Accessibility is seriously lacking
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Walking Aid, Wheelchair
This establishment is set in the grounds of Fakenham Farm, a small working farm, although run as an independent venture. I contacted the establishment a few days before visiting to check wheelchair accessibility and was assured that there was full wheelchair access and a disabled toilet. On this basis I decided to visit only to find that wheelchair access is very poor, the disabled toilet is not fit for purpose and, perhaps worse of all, the proprietor's attitude was appalling
Transport & Parking
The venue is found just before St Helens Village and is on a bus route with an hourly bus service. It is reached by way of a small winding, uphill lane from the main road. Arriving by car is easier and there is a good sized carpark.
On arrival there are no signs to indicate where the wheelchair access to the building is (there are many steps at the front of the building and access is at the rear). The proprietor had parked her car across the only pathway leading to the rear and I was only just able to squeeze past with a narrow active user manual chair. Once at the side of the building I had to negotiate long grass (and a decaying corpse of a seagull) to the rear entrance. This would be extremely hazardous to anyone with walking difficulties/crutches/visual impairments. The rear access had a very high door threshold and a narrow doorway. Most wheelchairs along with all power chairs and scooters would find this impossible. Furnishings are rustic with heavy bench seating made from pallets, only one table is suitable for use by a wheelchair user that cannot transfer to a bench seat with high sides
Despite stating that there was an accessible loo, this involved negotiating a short narrow passageway and sharp turn. The toilet itself is just about large enough for a manual chair to enter and shut the door, however on the day that I attended it was being used for dining chair storage. There are NO grab rails at all near the toilet, the only one being on the back of the door. There is no emergency cord. There are no hand drying facilities and the only bin is an open topped rubbish bin with black bag. Nowhere to dispose of clinical waste. There is a lift up baby changing table and so appears to be designed as a baby changing area but is deemed suitable by the owner(s) as a disabled access toilet merely because it is larger than an average toilet cubicle.
Whilst I was there the staff consisted of the proprietor and a chef. When I mentioned that there was a car blocking the access from the carpark, the proprietor shrugged and said 'that's probably mine'! From then on her attitude didn't improve. She was dismissive to the point of rudeness and when my husband pointed out that there was a decomposing carcass of a bird right outside the door (which I would have rolled straight over had my husband not noticed it), we were told "what do you expect, we ARE on a farm" !
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I most certainly would not class this establishment as having disability access and having gone to the effort of checking with the proprietor a few days beforehand and being assured that it was fully accessible, I was greatly disappointed with the lack of access and dismissive staff attitude. I would not visit again and would not recommend it to any other disabled visitor