Retail / Town Centre

Direct Access works with communities and local government to transform high streets into inclusive and accessible environments. We work with place leaders to identify the issues that impact accessibility which often includes delivering accessible workshops and outreach to local disability communities.

We advise and lead on urban design, planning, placemaking, place management, landscape architecture, and transportation. Our data collection systems map out key locations and integrate them with GIS data.

Row of shopping carts at entrance of supermarket near parking lot

We have delivered public realm programmes for Trafford Council, identifying ways of improving access in Altrincham, Sale, Stretford, and Urmston centres. For Bethel, Vermont in the United States, our audit program of Main Street, downtown informed local communities on ways of improving accessibility. In Coventry, working with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust we traced the Sherbourne River through the city centre and identified opportunities for disabled people to access viewing points.

The COVID pandemic had a major impact on urban spaces with areas closed off, seating restricted and one-way systems installed that were detrimental to access and ease of use of spaces. Direct Access enables local councils to consider accessible alternatives and build back better.

Two girls walking towards a shop in Altrincham town centre

Public Realm means any publicly owned streets, roadways, sidewalks, parks, plazas, and other open spaces that comprise the shared space of a city for its visitors, employees, and residents. It is the space between buildings where civic interaction occurs and is defined in contrast to private property.

Direct Access’ experience delivering accessibility programmes within the retail sector includes auditing, consulting, and training on projects that range from new site builds to long-established shopping centres. Direct Access are the Accessibility Consultants for McArthur Glen flagship outlet retail village at Cheshire Oaks.

In addition, Direct Access was part of a consortia which included Benoy Architects and Gillespies for the then unbuilt Woking Town Square retail development in London. We have also provided accessibility audits of restaurants including sites owned by McDonalds, Subway and Nando’s.


McArthur Glen 1


Direct Access Consultancy Limited
Suite GB
Pepper House
Market Street
5 South Charlotte Street

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