AN ACTIVIST is calling for better wheelchair access in shops and cafes after spending an hour and a half trying to find somewhere to eat.

Simon Sansome, 38, spoke out after steps “a few inches tall” prevented him from eating and shopping at several places in North Laine, Brighton.

The campaigner visited the city last weekend for a two-year-old’s birthday and was exploring the area with a group of friends.

Mr Sansome, who lost the ability to walk in a rugby accident, said ramps which cost just £20 would solve the issue.

He said: “It took us an hour and a half to find somewhere which is wheelchair accessible.

“When we go to restaurants, it is not which one we pick, it is the ones that pick us.

“We had about £500 to spend to buy presents for friends. We went around nearly every shop but they all had tiny steps which my electric wheelchair could not get over.

“It is disappointing because we came down here to support the local community and we can’t because there is no disabled access in hardly any of shops.

“I want to go in the shops, I want to spend money, but because there is no disabled access, we can’t – it’s a shame.

“So what did we do? We went to Starbucks.

“It was frustrating.”

Mr Sansome, from Leicester, founded and runs Ability Access.

It is a campaign group and news website which “empowers people with disabilities” and reaches more than 20,000,000 people a month.

He was named in The Independent’s list of 50 unsung heroes.

He said: “We went to the i360 and there was no trouble and the Royal Pavilion was really nice.

“We ended up spending all our money in the shopping centre because that was wheelchair accessible.”

The activist said the issue could be easily solved.

He said: “North Laine is similar to Camden, however Camden has attempted to put out ramps to help you into the shops.

“A portable ramp off Amazon costs £20.

“All you would have to do is advertise that you have it and then put it down.

“We would have spent ten times that amount if we could have got into the shop.”

Mr Sansome hopes a European law which requires every place serving customers to have disabled access will come into effect soon.