‘Dark, dank, disgusting’: Disabled woman’s anger as council’s toilet refurbishment ‘ignores’ accessible loos
PUBLISHED: 15:26 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:40 06 September 2019
A woman has accused a council of ‘ignoring’ the needs of people with disabilities after plans to refurbish a block of public toilets did not include disablility-friendly cubicles.
East Suffolk Council announced plans on Thursday, September 5, to undertake a 'major refurbishment' of the town centre public toilets on Gordon Road, Lowestoft.
Rachel Pickett, 31, lives with a connective tissue disorder which requires her to use a wheelchair to get around. She also requires accessible toilets when she needs the bathroom.
She said: "The toilets on Gordon Road are dark, dank, and disgusting. They don't even have an emergency cord hanging to the ground, which is required.
"They can't even provide basic cleanliness, there's not even a sanitary bin. Good disabled toilets should be a priority."
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The council's current refurbishment plans state they will relocate the men's toilets to create a more usable space and add a seperate baby change unit "which can be accessed by all".
From Monday 9 September, the public toilets will be closed for between four to six weeks while refurbishment works are carried out.
A council spokesperson said "the disabled toilet will remain open during the works" and during the closure "visitors are advised to use alternative facilities at The Triangle Market and the Gordon Road bus station."
Mrs Pickett said: "I sent pictures of the state of the toilet to the council but that was ignored, and I contacted them again yesterday after seeing they are refurbishing the main toilets.
"They said they have no plans to do anything about the disabled toilets. There's no maintenance and they aren't cleaned or checked very often. These toilets are so old they still have the logo of the old council. It should be made safe."
The council have now confirmed they are assessing options to refurbish all toilets on Gordon Road.
A spokesperson for the council said: "In response to requests from members of the public, we are now looking at options for refurbishing the disabled toilet. We would hope to get this work completed as quickly as possible to avoid them being closed for too long."
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