DISABLED people across St Albans will be empowered to find out which pubs, shops and restaurants are accessible to them thanks to a new website.

By visiting www.DisabledGo.info people will now be able to check in advance if a pub is wheelchair friendly, whether a venue offers a hearing loop, which hotels offer adapted rooms or whether a restaurant offers menus in braille or large print.

St Albans District Council joined forces with Marks & Spencer and the St Albans District Access Group to sponsor the webguide on accessibility, which was launched last Thursday.

DisabledGo an information service designed to help make life easier for people with hearing, vision or mobility issues was commissioned to survey hundreds of the district's shops, businesses, pubs, cafes and public venues.

The guide, launched at Marks and Spencer's flagship store in London Colney, will make a huge difference to people with hearing, vision or mobility related access concerns.

It may also be useful for older people and parents with pushchairs.

Founder of DisabledGo, wheelchair user Gregory Burke, said at the launch: "The constant need to write or telephone to enquire about access really affects people's confidence to get out and do what they want to do.

"Never knowing whether a building will be accessible or whether staff will have a helpful attitude, makes you think twice before going out.

"DisabledGo ends that uncertainty by providing detailed access information and enabling people to judge for themselves whether a shop, restaurant or theatre is accessible for their own needs."

Councillor Brian Peyton, portfolio holder for community development, said the website would empower people to check access to all kinds of places and help them participate in everything that the district has to offer.

Emma Eliasson, commercial manager for Marks & Spencer's London Colney store, added: "At Marks & Spencer, we are keen to improve access for all our customers to our products and services. We believe that the DisabledGo website provides comprehensive information, which answers a real need and will make a genuine difference to disabled people's daily lives."