New changing facilities planned to help people living with disabilities in Bicester

Plans have been unveiled to revamp Bicester’s public toilets to help those living with disabilities gain greater freedom whilst visiting the town centre.

Published: Friday, 19th July 2019

As part of Changing Places Awareness Day (Friday 19 July), Cherwell District Council have committed £120,000 towards refitting the public conveniences at Claremont car park, off Victoria Road, to include a new area where people who struggle to use the toilet can be changed.

More than a quarter of a million people in the UK suffer with severe disabilities and need to use fully-accessible Changing Places toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.

In Bicester, Bardwell School helps to educate youngsters with such conditions. Headteacher, John Riches said: “Without such facilities, it can be almost impossible for our pupils and their families to go out. Changing Places toilets are a vital part of enabling people with disabilities, and their carers, to lead full and happy lives.”

Dan Sames, Cherwell’s lead member for clean and green said: “Providing facilities that are accessible to different members of the community is vitally important to ensure that our town centres are welcoming places for both residents and visitors.

“Having the Changing Places toilets in Bicester will make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. With only 1,300 facilities of this kind across the UK we should be proud that Bicester is leading the way in installing one and that Cherwell places a high value on making our public facilities as accessible as possible.”

Included in the plans is space for a hoist, a bed and a large free area to help manoeuvrability. The project is expected to start in September and due to be completed by early December 2019.

The redesign will take a small amount of space from the current men’s facilities. Both the men’s and women’s public toilets will be refurbished as part of the plan.

The news follows the announcement in June that the Castle Quay Waterfront in Banbury will bring forward a series of improvement works for the existing shopping centre, including the introduction of adult changing spaces to ensure that Banbury town centre is accessible to everyone.