Government urged to make Changing Places compulsory in large builds

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A government advisory body has urged ministers to make it a requirement that all large builds open to the public include Changing Places toilets.

New recommendations from The Commons Women and Equalities Committee, which was appointed to examine the government’s performance on equalities issues, stated that the accessible toilets should be a minimum requirement for large developments like large shopping centres.

Further to this, it advised that the action plan on the accessibility of public transport, currently being developed by the Department for Transport, include action to improve the availability of accessible and Changing Places toilets in transport infrastructure.

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According to a report from the committee, a minister said the government is “certainly going to consider whether Changing Places toilets should be required in larger public buildings.”

If the government acts on the report’s recommendations it could mean new public builds and transport infrastructure are forced to install the accessible toilet facilities, which include a hoist, height-adjustable basin, and an adult-sized changing table.

Currently, official guidelines state that provision of Changing Places toilets is ‘desirable’ in ‘large building developments’.

According to government figures, there are 918 Changing Places toilets in the UK and it said that it was working “very closely with Mencap, the British Toilet Association and with the Changing Places campaign” and a website had been developed to help people find the nearest Changing Places toilet “quickly and easily”.

Speaking on provision of facilities within transport infrastructure, Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport told the committee that Changing Places toilets are required for ‘category A’ rail stations, that is, the 28 stations across the network where there are more than two million entrances or exits each year.

When asked if he felt that was sufficient, the Minister replied that the Rail Minister is meeting the Changing Places Foundation in a few weeks’ time for discussion. He added: “We have accessible toilets in other areas of our transport network, but of course we are seeking to go further.”

The committee’s report concluded: “The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport told us that his Department is working on an action plan on the accessibility of public transport, and this strikes us an excellent place to start.”

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