A WORLD-famous street visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year is at the centre of a row over its disabled access.

Haworth Main Street is an iconic tourist magnet in the Bronte village, drawing people from across the globe.

But critics say the idyllic image masks a nightmare for wheelchair users.

Ann White visited with her disabled mum, Ruth, but they left after just a few minutes – feeling “upset and unwanted”.

“We couldn’t manage the wheelchair over the cobbled paving and nearly all the shops and pubs near where we parked had difficult steps which barred us access,” said Ann.

“My mum hates being in a wheelchair anyway and this brief and very upsetting visit just brought home the issue even more.

“I can understand places like Haworth wanting to retain a traditional look and charm, but this is 2019 – people are living longer and we need to move into the modern age to cater for people with disabilities.

“Even if premises just had a ‘smooth’ area immediately outside it would help.

“We left Haworth feeling extremely upset and unwanted and we won’t go back.”

The Keighley News found that one shop at the top of Main Street had a ramp installed, and a sign pointed out step-free access to the parish church and parsonage museum, but most other premises facing onto the street had steps.

Paul Anderson, from Riddlesden, is a Bradford MS Society committee member and uses an electric wheelchair.

He said he purposely avoids visiting Haworth due to its inaccessibility.

But he added that problems for wheelchair users accessing shops were not restricted to one village.

“It’s an issue everywhere,” said Mr Anderson.

“There are a lot of premises where it’s not always clear how you can get in.

“Quite often if there are no visible means of gaining access you have to ask, and sometimes the shop may have a ramp that they can bring out.

“But people don’t always want to ask – they can find it humiliating.

“Wheelchair users have money to spend like everyone else, but they are being excluded.

“I can understand the challenges with older buildings, but the nature of a street shouldn’t be used as an excuse for not providing disabled access.”

Worth Valley ward councillor Rebecca Poulsen says she fully appreciates the concerns, but says the nature of Haworth does greatly restrict what can be done.

“I was speaking to one business about this issue and they said they couldn’t install a ramp because it was a listed building,” she said.

“I think this is a problem in a lot of heritage places around the country.

“Another issue is that many business premises on Main Street front straight onto the road so there is very limited space for ramps.”

Cllr David Mahon, chairman of the village’s parish council, echoed the comment about limitations placed on businesses.

“It is an extremely difficult situation – because of the Conservation Area and listed status on buildings very few alterations are allowed,” he said. “There isn’t an easy solution.”

Bradford Council says it empathises with disabled people who find it difficult to make their way around Haworth, but that much of the village was built “many years ago” before accessibility standards were established.

A spokesman added: “Heritage buildings are protected and accessibility conditions could only be added for new building work – and would still need to preserve any historic features.

“In recent years the historic surface of Main Street has been improved, with the stone setts being relaid to make them more level and even.

“The gradient of Haworth Main Street is always going to make disabled access difficult and the cobbled streets are part of the heritage site and are protected.”