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Barnstaple bus station toilets to be refurbished

[Wednesday 18 July 2012]

Photo - Unisex toilet sign

Improvements are to be made to the public toilets at Barnstaple bus station, which will include a specialist facility for severely disabled people.

At a North Devon Council meeting yesterday (Tuesday 17 July), Executive members agreed to allocate £100,000 to improve public toilets at the bus station, as well as provide a 'Changing Places' toilet, which would be the only public facility of its kind in North Devon.

Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: "We built the bus station in 1999 and it's been a great success. The toilets, which are really well used, are now in need of refurbishment, but rather than a simple like-for-like replacement, we want to ensure we're improving our facilities to make them better and even more accessible for customers.

"One aspect of this refurbishment is for a new Changing Places toilet. For many years, local disabled people and their carers have identified a need for this facility in the district. As a result, we have been looking for a suitable location to provide this special facility. Therefore, I'm delighted that we're finally able to bring this to the town, as part of this refurbishment project."

Local ward member, Councillor Faye Webber, says: "It's great that we are looking to provide a Changing Places toilet for disabled people. However, this project goes so much further than that and will benefit all users. Currently, the toilets can only be accessed from inside the premises, which are open between 8am to 6pm. That's despite buses running from 5.45am until gone 11 o'clock at night. So, as part of this refurbishment programme, we'll be looking to provide some toilets outside the building, to improve access for everyone."

Local ward member, Cllr Adam Bradford, is also supporting the project. He says: "It is of course absolutely the right thing to be doing, as it is our duty to try and address the needs of everyone."

Once the work is complete, there will be five unisex toilets, separate urinals and one Changing Places unit, along with baby changing facilities and a standard disabled toilet.

A Changing Places toilet is aimed at meeting the needs of people with profound and multiple physical disabilities, who need extra facilities to allow them to use toilets. This includes a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a hoist and adequate space for the disabled person and up to two carers.

The toilet refurbishment will start later this year, with the project expected to be completed by next spring.

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