Disabled Lowestoft woman loses compensation claim against Great Yarmouth Seashore Holiday Park

A disabled Lowestoft woman who was badly injured after she tumbled down a flight of steps in her wheelchair at a Great Yarmouth holiday park lost her fight for compensation yesterday.

Brenda Clark, 60, who has spina bifida, suffered a cut and bruises to her face and leg after she fell at the Tavern Bar in the Seashore Holiday Park in September 2006.

Mrs Clark had gone up to the upper level in the bar on a ramp to look for a toilet and was heading back down in her electric wheelchair when she fell.

She thought there would also be a ramp leading back down but at the last minute she realised it was stairs instead of a ramp.

Mrs Clark, of Montgomery Avenue, could not stop in time and drove down the stairs in her wheelchair. She fell and suffered a cut below her eye, bruising to her face and legs and a split lip.

Mrs Clark also suffered serious mental effects, leaving her unable to go out for two years.

Last year, Mrs Clark won the right to substantial damages from holiday park owners Bourne Leisure.

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District judge Robert Sparrow at Norwich County Court found Mrs Clark had driven her wheelchair down the stairs “inadvertently” and said the steps were not safe for disabled users.

Following an appeal by Bourne Leisure, the Appeal Court yesterday ended Mrs Clark’s compensation claim by ruling the company was “blameless” as the bar was “reasonably safe,” the flight of steps was “quite wide” and the difference in levels was “obvious”.

Dame Janet Smith said: “The ramp was available and entirely safe for wheelchairs.

“The steps were not safe for wheelchairs but they were clearly visible and any wheelchair user taking reasonable care for his or her own safety would avoid using them.”

anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk