Disabled toilet call ‘will be considered’

Keith Bright tests the toilet facilities at Colchester Zoo. His wife Glenys says the lack of anythin

Keith Bright tests the toilet facilities at Colchester Zoo. His wife Glenys says the lack of anything similar in Great Yarmouth stops disabled people from enjoying normal family life in the town. - Credit: Glenys Bright

A petition calling on the borough council to look at bringing a fully equipped disabled toilet to Great Yarmouth has failed to attract enough signatures - but the council has said it will consider it anyway.

It was launched by Glenys Bright who said the resort was effectively barring disabled people from its attractions, festivals - and forthcoming air show - by not having a unit with a hoist and changing table.

The bid attracted over 300 supporters, but 450 were needed to trigger a debate.

However Mrs Bright, of Lowestoft Road, Gorleston, said she was heartened the environment committee had said it would talk about the proposal at its meeting this month.

Mrs Bright, whose husband Keith has Multiple Sclerosis, said the campaign had been boosted by the plight of paralympian athlete Anne Wefula Strike who was left to wet herself on a CrossCountry train because the disabled toilet was out of order.

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Her upsetting experience resonated with many anecdotal reports about loss of dignity in public that prevented disabled people from enjoying normal family life, Mrs Bright said, adding the story had come out at 'just the right time' strengthening her case.

She said: 'I don't thing people realise how simple it is. The room you need is not massive and there are disclaimer signs to cover themselves. Yarmouth would not be the first place to have them, some places have four.

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'When we go away we take a hoist but that is not possible on a day out or if you go out for lunch. There is nothing in the town. People have to cut their day short and at that point their wallet closes.

'It is a very private subject and a lot of people are shy about admitting they have problems.'

Wefula Strike said too many disabled people suffered in silence.

Speaking to national newspaper she said: 'People with disabilities don't want perfection, we just want the basics and to have our independence. But lack of access and inclusive facilities make us feel as if we are an afterthought.'

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