A FAMILY said they were “thrilled” a Worthing restaurant had installed disabled toilet facilities after listening to their criticisms.
Lyn Aaron-Ferrigno and her husband John were outraged after dining at Pizza Express in Warwick Street in September last year.
They contacted the Herald at the time to say their disabled daughter Zoe, seven, had been upset by the lack of an accessible toilet at the restaurant.
The family were told to use the restaurant’s spiral staircase to access the upstairs toilet facilities, which would have been impossible as Zoe uses a wheelchair, or to use the facilities at ASK, Pizza Express’ nearby sister restaurant.
Lyn, of Rectory Road, Tarring, said: “We were very angry when we were told the restaurant couldn’t accommodate Zoe. It was embarrassing. Our daughter should be entitled to go to the toilet when she wants to and not be made to feel like she is any different from the rest of us.”
Lyn complained to the restaurant and was told staff had previously complained to the company’s head office but were told installation of disabled facilities was difficult as the restaurant is in a Grade II listed building.
Earlier this year, Pizza Express decided to renovate the Warwick Street restaurant and have now installed a downstairs, disabled-friendly, toilet. Manager Antonio Felline said he was “very happy” the restaurant was able to respond to Lyn’s criticisms.
He said: “Pizza Express have spent a lot of money on the improvements. Initially, we were just going to have a downstairs toilet added, but we have also had a new kitchen fitted and the restaurant has had a renovation and is looking great.”
The restaurant was closed while the work was carried out, but re-opened on Monday evening after Lyn and her family were invited to see the alterations.
Antonio added: “We are very pleased we were able to take our customers’ concerns on board, and we look forward to welcoming them back to visit us soon.”
Lyn added: “I’m thrilled Pizza Express listened to us and not just paid lip service like so many places do when we complain about lack of accessible facilities which should be a necessity.”
Norah Fisher, secretary of Worthing Access and Mobility Group, attended the re-opening of the restaurant and said she was pleased Pizza Express had made the premises accessible for everyone.