A Blue Badge owner has accused Dartford Heath Retail Park of discrimination after the disabled parking spaces in its car park were repainted.

Helen Staniforth, 49, drove to Dunelm at the park on Monday afternoon to do some shopping.

When she arrived, she realised the disabled spaces, which are closer to the shop for easy access, had been changed to also cater for parents and children.

"It's discrimination against disabled people," she told News Shopper.

The mother-of-three added: "I understand you do need spaces for mothers and babies because you need more space to take the car seat out."

But she said there was "no point" in having disabled bays at all if they were dual-use.

She believes all of the seven or eight disabled bays at the park have been converted to cater for both disabled people and parents.

She has since returned to the park to speak to Dunelm staff.

Despite having a disabled parking Blue Badge on her car, Mrs Staniforth was unable to park in a disabled bay because they were all full.

Luckily, her husband was with her and she was able to hold on to him while she walked from her parking space into the shop.

"There are so many people who are disabled and don't have someone to help. Anyone can use those spaces now," she said.

After approaching staff at Dunelm and the car park operator, Highview Parking, about the reduced accessibility for disabled people, Mrs Staniforth says she was "bounced back and forth" about who was responsible for the parking spaces.

Mrs Staniforth eventually found out the company responsible was property company London Metric Plc.

News Shopper contacted London Metric for an explanation as to why the bays had been changed.

A spokesman for the company said: "It is our intention to reinstate a minimum of two of the bays for disabled use only.

"Thereafter, we will monitor usage and feedback.

"We understand the importance of accessibility for all and apologise for parking problems that this has caused in the meantime."