Preston looks set to finally get a place for disabled people to get changed and support in the city centre.Advertisement
A mobile Changing Places unit is going to be parked in the car park near the Chinese Buffet in Friargate.
With a 6.75metre ramp the access to the unit will be the same as was during the Lancashire Encounter arts festival of September last year.
A new planning application for the high dependency unit to be installed has been submitted.
A statement from city council officers say: “The City Council has agreed to receive a mobile Changing Places facility from Lancashire County Council. The facility is a high dependency unit that will allow the most severely disabled to access much needed welfare facilities in Preston, which are currently lacking in the City centre.
“The unit, which is trailer mounted, can, via a tow bar and vehicle, be moved to other locations around the City in support of major Events when required. However, for the majority of the time the unit will be parked and accessible at the Mobility Centre. As a semi-permanent home for the unit, planning permission is being sought.
“Also, because the unit will remain in place for a period longer than what can be regarded as temporary, the steeper temporary ramp access that is provided with the unit cannot be used (other than for short duration events) unit and instead a more appropriate ramped structure will be required to provide access to the unit.”
Read more: How Changing Places toilet made this lad’s weekend
Families needing to use the Changing Places facility will need to register and will receive access via a radar key – made specially for disabled toilets.
Previous proposals from the city council had included a permanent Changing Places toilet in the city centre but these were put on hold due to the costs associated with it.
Jackie Sinclair, who took her son to Lancashire Encounter and used the Changing Places toilet, was pleased to see the structure moving forward.
She said: “This is wonderful, long awaited news – a big step towards making Preston city centre a truly accessible one and bringing it in line with most other surrounding towns and cities that already have these facilities.
“It means that my son Tom and hundreds of other people who need these facilities will be able to spend time shopping and socialising in the city centre without needing to go home if they need the toilet.
“I would like to think that Preston City Council has plans to extend this initial provision by including further permanent Changing Places, as part of indoor public toilet provisions, within at least one of the current multi million building regeneration or development projects such as the fantastic Market Quarter or Harris Library to ensure that absolutely everyone can enjoy them.”
Leader of the city council councillor Peter Rankin had said he hoped the have a Changing Places toilet in place by summer this year.