CONTRACT workers were last night working on the installation of disabled access in one of Sports Directs' high-end stores in Darlington.

Months after The Northern Echo first revealed the retailer tried to scrap disabled access at its Flannels store on Crown Street, workers were pictured getting to work on a platform lift at the premises.

Frasers Group (formerly known as Sports Direct International) first applied to have a planning condition requiring it to install disabled access at the site removed, after opening in part of the former TK Maxx unit.

The plans submitted to Darlington Borough Council in Summer 2019 suggested that disabled customers must "make themselves known to staff" at the entrance of the store.

The Northern Echo: A lift installation company were pictured at the site on Tuesday nightA lift installation company were pictured at the site on Tuesday night

Proposals said disabled customers unable to climb the store's steps would then be "escorted" through the store's busy back-of-house area and allowed onto the shop floor.

But refusing the application and describing the retailer's request as "unreasonable," the retailer was told it must install disabled access by the end of the year.

However, "losing the trust" of its customers according to disappointed customers who had previously struggled to enter the store, the firm cancelled plans to install the lift for the 'busy Christmas period.'

The Northern Echo:

At the time, the chairman of Darlington Association on Disability Gordon Pybus, branded the delays as "unsatisfactory" and "unacceptable."

Meanwhile, The Northern Echo understood that Darlington Borough Council would take enforcement action against the firm if the lift had not been installed by the end of January.