100 signatures reached
To: Paul James - Gloucester City Council Leader
Install a changing place toilet in Gloucester
Gloucester city centre does not have even ONE suitable accessible toilet space for people with complex disabilities and there appears to be no provision to include one in the current redevelopment plans.
Why is this important?
Currently Cheltenham, Tewkesbury or Gloucester do not have facilities accessible to citizens who have requirements of a more substantial nature than is achievable in even a standard accessible bathroom. This means we are limiting our counties resident’s ability to become “active citizens”, a Conservative Government initiative launched by David Cameron, in our largest civic centres. Facilities are available elsewhere in the county but only within the Forest of Dean and Stroud valleys area. Our main shopping and social destinations are unable to meet the most basic needs of some of our residents and instead revenue and experiences that could be consumed in the City are currently being delivered in Bristol and the surrounding retail spaces. This means families friends and carers are being excluded from our City and its culture. We would like to see Gloucester set an example for the larger towns in the County to follow and ensure that our citizens and economy benefits from the inclusion of all.
It is estimated there are 230,000 people in the country who would have facilities adapted to assist them in their homes. There is a real requirement for inclusion outside of that environment. A rough estimate would have Gloucestershire with about 3500 people who require resources available to them in our City Centre to be able to plan a visit to our shops, theatres, or communal spaces for more than a couple of hours at a time. Several other councils across the country have installed and endorsed the fitting of these facilities, with The City of York being one of 5 Conservative led councils to commission them. We believe that there is a case to be answered by the council for the incorporation of a Changing Places toilet in the new developments within Gloucester.
Louise Ellis, one of our cities parents whom has adopted children with special needs, is experiencing the effects of this lack of incorporation when travelling with her two children. Both her 9 year old daughter Chloe and her twin brother Jack suffer with Cerebral Palsy, with her son Jack requiring more robust assistance than his sister. Changing a child on the cold floor of a car to prolong a trip into the city center is not unusual and indeed Bristol is the preferred destination for Louise's trips out. Many people suffer with illnesses and disabilities that require facilities that are better equipped than standard disabled toilets. These requirements, such as a changing table capable of supporting an adult, hoist equipment to lift someone safely from chair to toilet or space around the facilities to allow two people to assist, are not uncommon. Tables are placed in baby changing facilities as parents need more than a bare floor to change their child's nappy, yet this is what we expect parents and carers to do with their children and loved ones. The lack of a suitable facility is not the only problem with Gloucester for Louise and her children. The disabled toilets which are available, whilst wholly inadequate, are still their best option. In our City however they are often located on a floor below or above ground, Debenhams is located on the first floor whilst M&S is in their basement, placing another obstacle in their path.
The cost of a toilet to be included into a new build is approximately 15k. Conservative councils have led the way in terms of ratification for the CP scheme, backing the organisation more than another other individual party in terms of case studies. This is largely due to the inclusion of these spaces doing a lot to help councils meet the goals of the Active Citizens program and it has been seen as favourable when the City of Culture awards are evaluated. If Gloucester is serious about their bid for City of Culture 2025 then we would like Gloucester to adhere to the principals of the “Active Citizen” initiative and help us deliver a city accessible to all.
There are a number of new developments planned -in the new bus station for example- that would have been accessible to shoppers and travellers and as yet do not have plans for a 'changing place' toilet in.