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To: JD Wetherspoon plc
Wetherspoons Royal Pavilion fails on disabled toilet facilities
Please provide a fully equipped, wheelchair accessible disabled persons toilet on the top floor, at the Royal Victoria Pavilion Ramsgate.
Why is this important?
Ramsgate's new super-sized Wetherspoons, Britains biggest, can hold up to 1,400 people. They have spent a whopping £4.5M on refurbishing the building and is located over three floors. The most stunning of which is a 6,500 sq ft sun terrace, on the top.
On Friday 22nd June, my husband and I, plus another lady in a wheelchair, had a lovely meal on the top floor sun terrace. When we went to use the toilets, we were astounded how small and ill equipped, the disabled toilet was on this floor. How did it ever pass at planing, when a person in a wheelchair cannot fit inside? The main toilet area is so spacious, 40 people could stand inside it without any difficulty. It also has a dedicated bar stool area for women to touch their makeup up. It is a state of the art toilet, yet it does not have a fully functional wheelchair accessible toilet. My husband helped my friend and I with the doors, external and internal and someone actually reported him for being inside the ladies toilet, even though two wheelchairs were present. He felt so embarrassed and was only trying to help two ladies reach the toilet. Wetherspoons clearly have more than enough room to build an outside, independently accessed, disabled persons toilet.
As it stands, there is only one accessible toilet on the lower ground floor, bearing in mind there is a capacity of 1,400 people at any one time. Just the one?, really. It is shameful that a large company like Wetherspoons has not considered the size and location of these toilets more adequately. Realistically, one is needed on every floor. Disabled people cannot always wait in a queue for the lift. Wetherspoons need to urgently remodel the one on the top floor, amalgamate it with the cubicle next door and make them both deeper, to allow a wheelchair to turn around inside and for the person to be able to lock the door. The external door also needs an electronic button to open the door automatically. After all, it might help them from finding someone else's husband inside, needing to keep a guard on their wife's toilet door.
When I approached Head Office, I received the following reply. "It appears the toilet you visited was one of the general toilets but has one cubicle with a hand rail in". Which in basic language means this is not a disabled persons toilet. How can they say a toilet where the door is wider than the others and has a distinct handle plus a large visible symbol of a wheelchair in the outside of it, is not a disabled toilet but a general one? Even the single grab rail is far too low to be of any help to anyone. Maybe Wetherspoons were trying to get away with making people think they had two accessible toilets, when in fact they only have the one, located on the bottom floor. Having it down there prevents all disabled people from enjoying the sunny terrace on top.
I believe every disabled person should have equality and the opportunity to enjoy this amazing sun terrace. In a building of this size there should be more than one accessible toilet and they should not have to use a lift to get there.
Come on Wetherspoons, make some changes now please.