A BLUE badge holder is dismayed at the sudden closure of an entrance into Debenhams used by disabled people.

The department store has an access door on the third floor of the car park, on Fleming Way, next to the disabled parking spaces.

But one loyal customer discovered last week it had been permanently closed without any warning, forcing people with mobility problems to walk down College Street to get to the front entrance.

Gill Thomas, from Old Town, who finds walking difficult after she suffered a stroke last year, told the Adver the closure of the door was marginalising disabled people and wasn’t safe.

“I think it’s a shocking way to treat disabled people, it’s outrageous. It’s now terribly difficult for disabled people to get to the store.”

Gill lost the feeling in her right leg after her recovery but is more concerned about other disabled people trying to use the store.

“I have a low level of disability but I’m doing this on behalf of everyone who has mobility problems,” she added. "If it’s wintery weather you could be absolutely stuck.”

There is now only one exit and entrance into the store, after the side entrance on Fleming Way also closed.

“If there was an emergency, it would be pandemonium,” said Gill. “How can they only have door for entry and exit for a premises that size.”

The company cited safety reasons to explain the closure, but Gill said it may have closed because homeless people sleeping in the car park had been using the washroom in the store.

A Debenhams spokesperson said: “Due to security and safety reasons, the door from the car park is locked. We would advise any customers wishing to access the store to use the car park lift to the ground floor.”

The company added that it does not expect to reopen the door in the foreseeable future

“I thought they would be doing everything they can to attract trade, not setting up barriers to stop people,” Gill added. "They clearly haven’t thought this through.”