The lengths this architect will go to

Photo of Vaila on the loo (camera positioned discreetly!)

Dear Architects of the UK (and the rest of the world),

I want to talk to you about toilets.

I know the loos are not the most glamorous aspect of building design, but they are kind of fundamental aren’t they?

Would you ever dream of designing a publicly accessible building or place of work without one?

And of course any new building or refurb would have accessible toilets wherever there are toilets too?

But did you know that regular ‘wheelchair accessible toilets’ (doc M style toilets) are NOT accessible to all wheelchair users or even all mobile disabled people?

Photo of Vaila on the loo, with text: I'm getting my pants down 4 equality, Looathon, 11 May, Bathstore, Bathstore, Baker St London

My daughter is one of those wheelchair users, which means our whole family’s movements are dictated by access to the most elusive type of toilet in the country.

In my home city of Cambridge (a vibrant, tourist destination) there is only one, registered changing places toilet in the city centre. Yes, just one toilet in the whole of Cambridge that my daughter can use, other than the toilets at her school and a toilet at the hospital on the edge of town.

Playmobil family, to represent our family, on a woodland pathIn London you can count on one hand the number of changing places toilets in the West End.

Therefore my family cannot visit the West End together.

We CAN visit the 2014 Stirling Prize winning Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, but we CAN’T visit the most recent Stirling Prize winning buildings (judged to be the best buildings of those years!?), or at least our visit would be hugely compromised, compared to other visitors, as we would need to leave as soon as it was time to use the toilet.

I carried out a survey monkey last year aimed at architects and building designers.  Unfortunately (despite many regional RIBA chapters sharing it for me in their newsletters) I didn’t get a huge take up, perhaps because it’s not a very attention grabbing topic.

However, I think the results I did get gave some insight into why we still only have just over 1000 changing places in the whole UK.

Extract from survey showing bar chart of responses illustrating 54% of architects said no the question about having installed a changing places toilet

Of the…


…and those that had were mostly in community, care or educational settings (which are obviously very necessary), but very few in commercial installations at all, places where families like mine would like to be able to ‘go’ like other families (museums, cinemas, bowling alleys, theatres, department stores etc).

Personally I would love to see better guidance and I think there is mileage in there being more flexibility in the design of toilet standards in general, and that seemed to be echoed in many of the comments I received in my survey.

(I want to see some formal research on this topic, so if anyone can help in that department do get in touch!)

Following on from the success of her fantastic #LooAdvent campaign at christmas, amazing changing places champion, Sarah Brisdion, has organised a #Looathon with the great people of Bathstore in Baker Street on 11th May!

I deliberated about joining in, I am not an exhibitionist!  However my first blog post on this topic was over 2 years ago, I’ve spoken to anyone who will listen! Yet still we have only one toilet in my home city and a handful in central London. And so, I have decided to join Sarah and a whole host of other amazing accessibility champions, volunteering to put ourselves in an undignified position because our built environment robs our friends and relatives of their dignity daily…


I would like to extend an invitation to any architects, the RIBA, the building design media & building professional bodies to come along and meet us to get a first hand view of why we need this change in attitude to toilet design!  Also there will be a mobile changing places toilet at the event, a Mobiloo, so you will be able to see what is possible, even in the back of a van!


Letters to my Daughter

All I Want For Christmas Is A Loo

As it already appears to be Christmas advert and Christmas song season, it seems fitting to re-release this brilliant video from last year!

The amazing Sarah of Hadley’s Heroes came up with the idea to raise some awareness of the lack of changing places toilets whilst spreading some festive cheer, she rallied her brilliant friends and the collective of parent carers at My Changing Place and pulled this together just before the big day last year!

This year we’d like to try and spread the message for greater inclusion even further, in what better way, in the festive season, than in the medium of song!? Please watch and share and encourage all venues with customer and visitor toilets to have a think about exactly how accessible they really are!

(If you keep a lookout you’ll see J’s wee face appear a couple of times 😀 )

(Unfortunately the My Changing Places website is no longer active, but if you want to find out some more about the need for changing places toilets you can have a read of some of my earlier posts, for example check out the toilets illustrates why ‘disabled toilets’ are not for all disabled people and some other earlier posts here.)

You can also sign this petition to lobby government to make changing places legislation more definitive!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Accessibility Stories 07.17

a rusty key with #accesslinky written below

Thank you so much to all the linker uppers last month!

Apologies for running a bit late this month. The end of term and start of the school summer holidays have made their impact on my time to blog! I suspect many of you will be in a similar boat!?

Round Up:

Talking of holidays, last month Rainbows Are Too Beautiful shared an absolutely lovely little movie by @bobscartoons in her regular Wonderful Wednesday feature.  Family holidays can be daunting at the best of times, but when you have access and sensory considerations to make too, it can become a mission and a half!

Picture of a rusty key saying: Share your accessibility stories #AccessLinky

There were also a number of posts on inclusion last time.  Both good and bad examples!

Rainbows are Too Beautiful writes a lovely message to say Thank You Little Girls after glimpsing some natural moments of acceptance and inclusion between her little boy and his classmates at his school assembly.

Raising My Autistic Son shared a post about her son’s experiences of trying to Access After School Activities and The World of Gorgeous Grace enthuses about the contrast she’s experienced in the holistic approach to inclusion after moving to a new area in her post: This is how to do Inclusion

However The Sensory Seeker speaks of a disappointing approach to inclusion at her son’s school in Not Being Different

Disabled parking, or blue badge parking, is a topic I keep meaning to write about myself, because there still seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about why it’s needed and what impact the lack of parking can have.  The Long Chain explains just what this means for her and her family in This is A Disabled Parking Bay

And finally, my fantastic campaigner friend Lorna has decided to dabble in the world of blogging! Her first post about changing places toilets Even our Hospital Doesn’t Have a Toilet That We Can Safely Use was published in the #HPEveryBody series on HuffPost UK! Please read and sign her petition for #ChangingPlaces Toilets at the end of the post!

I hope you’ll check in again next month to catch up with the blog posts in the round up, and bloggers I hope to see lots of you again this month and *meet* some new people too!

Inclusive Home

Info on how to join in below:

Linky Info:

I’ve switched over to Inlinkz for the linky this month as I think it’s a bit more user friendly, hope you think so too!

The linky will be open for 2 weeks, please do share your posts about ideas and experiences (good and bad!) around physical and/or sensory accessibility of buildings, places, spaces, products and/or activities below….

And do check in again next month to read the round up!


  1. Link up to 2 posts each month (old or new)! It would be lovely if you could add my badge (cut and paste the code in the box under the badge image above and add it into your blog post while in ‘text’ mode of your blog editor) or add a text link back to my site so that people can find the linky and read the other blog entries;
  2. Please comment on this post to introduce yourself if you’re new to the linky, and comment on some of the other linked posts to help share ideas and experiences (use the hashtag #AccessLinky in your comment)!
  3. It would also be amazing if you could share your post (using the hashtag #AccessLinky) on social media to help spread awareness of the issues around accessibility!  I’ll also try to retweet as many posts as I can!
  4. I welcome input from anyone that is affected by accessible design – users, carers, friends and family as well as designers, developers, managers and legislators (so pretty much everyone then!). I welome blogs from professionals and suppliers as well as individual bloggers as long as they keep within the spirit of idea exchange and are not sales posts for products or services.

Inclusive British Standards?

Changing Places Toilets entrance signage

The British Standard Institute’s document that deals with accessibility in buildings and the built environment (BS 8300) has been under review for some time and last month, the greatly anticipated (well by me anyway!) draft of BS 8300 for public consultation was published.

BS 8300 is a massive document with a wide ranging remit (excluding dwelling design), containing lots of essential information to enable designers, developers and service providers to take actions to enable access to our built environment for people across the full spectrum of disabilities (not just ramps and lifts – although of course they are very important!). Including this particularly welcome section about including Inclusive Design in the development process:

“An inclusive environment recognizes and accommodates differences in the way people use the built environment. It facilitates dignified, equal and intuitive use by everyone. It does not physically or socially separate, discriminate or isolate. It readily accommodates and welcomes diverse user requirements – from childhood to adulthood through to old age, across all abilities and disabilities and embracing every background, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and culture. It helps people to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.” (Clause 4, BS 8300 draft)

Changing Places Toilets entrance signageHowever (as any regular readers will know!), one of the aspects of accessibility that particularly impacts my family (and approximately 250,000 other individuals, plus their families and friends, in the UK!) is a shortage of accessible toilets with hoist and changing bench. The only description for this need currently in the BSi standards is called a Changing Places Toilet.

Therefore my primary focus so far has been on reviewing the sanitary facilities section and I’m afraid I’ve found the amendments extremely disappointing, and counter to the lovely inclusive statement above.  It still reads to me as if changing places toilets have just been added on rather than included within the standards for sanitary provision.

I’ve laid out some of my initial thoughts on the accessible toilets section in a previous post, describing why we still feel Slightly Invisible and I will publish some more of my detailed thoughts on specific clauses (including my own suggestions for improvements) soon.

I know this legislation stuff can be a bit dry (downright boring?!) and jargon filled, but it is so important!  So much of the challenge in campaigning is the drudgery of contacting individual providers, who may or may not be receptive to comments and many of whom throw back the old, ‘we’ve complied with all current legislation‘ chestnut.

In building legislation, there’s so much stuff to read, and it can be confusing even for those of us in the industry so it’s massively important that current legislation is clear, and also clearly fair (for the users and the providers).

So I thought it might help to try and explain what a BSi Standard (like BS 8300) is, and how it relates to other legislation and regulations…..

The explanation on the BSi website is:

“In essence, a standard is an agreed way of doing something” but is “designed for voluntary use”

“The point of a standard is to provide a reliable basis for people to share the same expectations about a product or service.”

The BSi standards are accepted guidelines, in some cases best practice guidelines for particular situations, products services, put together by a wide range of interested parties (in the case of buildings that is users, designers, consultants, developers, service providers etc).

They stand alongside, and support other relevant legislation, the key ones for building accessibility being the Building Regulations and the Equality Act.

Building Regulations

In England, the section that deals with accessibility is Approved Document M, Volume 2 (or Part M2 for short, Part M1 for accessibility in homes).  Scotland, Wales and NI all have their own Building Regulations documents, but all have a broadly similar approach to accessible toilet legislation as Part M (hence the pet name for the standard style of accessible toilet being the “Doc M toilet” or the fittings being called the “Doc M Pack’).

As buildings, and their contexts, vary so much (from existing buildings to newbuild, from homes to offices and sports venues, tiny to enormous, hilly sites to flat…..) the Building Regulations are set out as an “Approved” way to do things, an approved way to meet a host of other legislation affecting buildings and people and the environment etc.  You do not have to meet legislation in the way building regulations say so, if people want to, or find they can’t comply for some reason or another, there are concessions or alternative methods that may be approved on a case by case basis.  However most developments do follow the regulations if they can, as everyone knows where they are then!

There is only a small mention of Changing Places Toilets in there, which references the BS 8300 document and the Changing Places Consortium guidance.

Building regulations are only enforceable at the time of development or refurbishment, so some people argue that changing them won’t help the situation for existing buildings.

The Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010  is a more overarching legislation that covers all equality issues from race to gender, employment to access.  It does not set out specifics on how buildings should provide access, just that they shouldn’t put disabled people at a “substantial disadvantage”.

This, from the beginning of Part M of Building Regulations:

“Although the guidance in this Approved Document, if followed, tends to demonstrate compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations, this does not necessarily equate to compliance with the obligations and duties set out in the EA. This is because service providers and employers are required by the EA to make reasonable adjustment to any physical feature which might put a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person. In some instances this will include designing features or making reasonable adjustments to features which are outside the scope of Approved Document M. It remains for the persons undertaking building works to consider if further provision, beyond that described in Approved Document M, is appropriate.”

So although there is some wiggle room for developers and service providers in both the BSi Standards and the Building Regulations, they still play an extremely import role in setting out what is expected in buildings and venues and what would be considered a ‘reasonable adjustment’ under the Equality Act legislation.  It’s therefore crucial that they reflect fairness to all, and in a clear way.

So if any aspects of accessibility affect you or someone you know, please do  have a look at this draft document!

You can register with the BSi to view the draft and submit your own comments on the standards (until 13th August), as an individual or on behalf of an organisation, by entering BS 8300 into the search bar, here:  BS 8300 for public consultation

You can find a selection of posts by other bloggers about how the lack of Changing Places Toilets affects them here

Slightly Invisible

Slightly Invisible

Last week, during Carer’s Week, a twitter conversation between two of my campaigner friends made me immediately think of one of our favourite books, “Slightly Invisible” by the fabulous Lauren Child (the brand new Children’s Laureate!).

Twitter conversation between @ordinaryhopes and @topeeornottopeeIn the story, Lola and her (imaginary?) friend, Soren Lorensen, drink an invisibility potion that her brother Charlie has made with his friend. Lola, of course, doesn’t become invisible but Soren Lorensen does…. Lola is adamant that she is also invisible and says:

“You can only see me because you know what I look like. You can’t see Soren Lorensen at all”!

Just as Ordinary Hopes said in her tweet, and her post The Invisible Boy, so many people just don’t ‘know what we look like’ either!

Perhaps they can’t see us because they don’t understand us or our needs? Perhaps we’re only slightly invisible and they can see some of our more obvious needs, like wheelchair access (not that that mean’s wheelchair access is a given!), but not our less obvious needs?

Designers, developers & service providers could be forgiven for not knowing what we look like.  Nobody can ever know what other people’s needs are.  Disability is such a massive spectrum, we are all slightly invisible to each other.

That is why regulations, standards and guidance are so important!

To help make everyone visible to those decision makers and providers of facilities….

At the end of last week the BSi (British Standards Institute) published a long awaited consultation draft of the proposed changes to BS 8300.  This is the British Standard document which addresses accessibility in ALL aspects of our built environment (both outside spaces and in buildings).

I’ve been anxiously anticipating its publication (yes I am rock and roll!) and hope to publish some posts over the next few weeks on various topics covered that I have professional interest in or personal experience of.

The type of facility (or lack of) that impacts our family most, when out and about, is accessible toilets for people who can’t use the loo, those who need help to change continence pads, or those who can’t transfer to the loo without help of a hoist and/or more than one carer.  So the only section of the BS I’ve read through so far has been the ‘Sanitary Facilities’ chapter….

….and I have to say anti-climax doesn’t even cover it.

I am really disappointed to see that there’s little change in relation to those who need help to use the toilet.

I don’t believe this draft of BS 8300 will help the decision makers see us any more than they did before.

I’ve yet to do a detailed compare and contrast, but my first thoughts are that there are still clearly two classes of disabled people when it comes to toilet provision.

The intro to the sanitary accommodation chapter (chapter 18) sounds great!

“Disabled people ought to be able to find and use suitable toilet accommodation no less easily than non‑disabled people. The space requirements for suitable toilet accommodation are generally driven by the requirements of wheelchair users, although the facilities might also be used by people with other impairments..” (Clause 18.5)

“At least one unisex wheelchair accessible toilet (see should be provided at each location where toilet accommodation is provided for the use of customers, employees or visitors” (Clause 18.5.1)

So far so good!  Wheelchair accessible toilets at each location where the other toilets are! Brilliant!

If only it meant all wheelchair users.

The ‘unisex wheelchair accessible toilet’ referred to is only suitable for those who can independently transfer to the WC.  People who need hoist or carer assistance and/or who can’t use the loo at all and need somewhere to lay down to change continence pads cannot use these toilets.

In contrast to the above inclusive statement, the recommendation for where it’s appropriate to provide toilets with a changing bench and hoist (a Changing Places Toilet), is:

“Any larger building where the public have access in numbers or where visitors might be expected to spend longer periods of time is a suitable venue for a CP facility. Such facilities are particularly important in buildings that might offer the only suitable sanitary accommodation within a locality, or in buildings where public services are provided, such as those operated by local authorities. Some commercial facilities such as large retail and leisure premises might be suitable as they provide longer opening hours and are likely to have a regular cleaning regime.” (Clause 18.6)

The way I think this will be interpreted by business (and the way I think it has been so far!), is that we are a municipal ‘problem’ and businesses don’t need to bother with these ‘special’ facilities.  It’s up to the government to provide them in strategic locations, not in locations where people actually are, or want to go.  Only if you have a large building, that isn’t near another large building that already has one, do you need to bother thinking about it!

Reading this during Mencap’s Learning Disability Week, it brings it home to me that we have a long way to go to break free of the ingrained attitude in society.  The older my daughter gets, the more it feels like people with complex needs are seen as other, even within the access community.  That families like ours are expected to accept their lot, and be grateful if the council provide some facilities to enable them to get out of their homes occasionally.

Both the current and this draft of the BS for toilets with a bench and hoist are written in a very exclusive way. The only solution given being a changing places toilet, which is a combined WC and shower, and which should be locked and ‘normal disabled people’ and ‘regular families’ should be directed to the ‘normal toilets’ – I paraphrase here, but that is the jist of it.  I really believe there are various design solutions which could create more flexible, inclusive facilities that could be more easily ‘sold’ to business as an asset for more customers/visitors/staff rather than an obligation (but I’ll blog about that later).

Slightly InvisibleThis lack of provision is something that affects disabled people of all ages, but also their wider circle.  You cannot go somewhere that your friend or loved one cannot access a toilet!

I can only speak for our family.  For myself and my husband as carers, and to represent our daughter who, quite literally, doesn’t, and may never, have a voice.  However I feel that many of my campaign friends are at a similar stage of life to us, watching as our kids grow apart from society as they outgrow the baby change unit.  Seeing the opportunities to visit places and join in activities with our wider family and friends slip away.

We don’t want to allow that to happen.  We want to retain the opportunities for inclusion for our families.

We don’t want our kids, their siblings and friends to be limited by society’s views of disability.

We need to be visible to those people who make the decisions on the most fundemental of facilities (the toilet) on whether to include or exclude us.

Spectrum Sunday
Mummy Times Two

Accessibility Stories 05.17

a rusty key with #accesslinky written below

Thank you to all the linker uppers from last month!

Round Up:

Starting the round up with a couple of neurodiversity posts (access isn’t only about ramps and lifts!)…

Rainbows are too Beautiful wrote about an experience a friend had had at an entertainment venue which prompted her to say, yes! Yes He is Perfect… AND he has a Disability!

The World of Gorgeous Grace speaks about the need for better advice and access to services around learning disability, as she reflects on GG’s Learning Disability Journey.

Picture of a rusty key saying: Share your accessibility stories #AccessLinky

Wheelchair Chic Home joined the linky with a fantastic Top 10 House Buying Tips When You Have Mobility Issues! This is definitely one to share with anyone looking to rent or buy an accessible or adaptable home!  If only the agents & developers understood the value in these features and marketed accessible homes properly so people could find them (and people might build more of them!)!

Another 10 was shared by the Firefly Community: Accessible Toilet Campaigners: 10 famous faces! So lovely to learn more about the people behind the campaigns, bringing a huge variety of experience and expertise to the table (or the bench?)! Really honoured to be included in the list myself!

And a fellow Firefly famous face, Rachel George of Ordinary Hopes linked a couple of her fab posts last month too.  The first, questioning how horrified people might be if non-disabled children (or adults!) were forced to wear nappies/pads! in her post: Some Things Are Just Wrong.

In contrast, Ordinary Hopes, also shared a most fabulous accessibility story, One Perfect Day, made possible by Cornwall Accessible Activities Programme in conjunction with Mobiloo (a charity providing mobile Changing Places Toilet facilities) – real inclusion! Just how it should be!

I hope you’ll check in again next month to catch up with the blog posts in the round up, and bloggers I hope to see lots of you again this month and *meet* some new people too!
Info on how to join in below:

Linky Info:

This linky will be open for 2 weeks, please do share your posts about ideas and experiences (good and bad!) around physical and/or sensory accessibility of buildings, places, spaces and products below…. And do check in again next month to read the round up!


    1. Link up to 2 posts each month (old or new)! It would be lovely if you could add my badge (cut and paste the code in the box under the badge image below and add it into your blog post while in ‘text’ mode of your blog editor) or add a text link back to my site so that people can find the linky and read the other blog entries;
    2. Please comment on this post to introduce yourself if you’re new to the linky, and comment on some of the other linked posts to help share ideas and experiences (use the hashtag #AccessLinky in your comment)!
    3. It would also be amazing if you could share your post (using the hashtag #AccessLinky) on social media to help spread awareness of the issues around accessibility!  I’ll also try to retweet as many posts as I can!
    4. I welcome input from anyone that is affected by accessible design – users, carers, friends and family as well as designers, developers, managers and legislators (so pretty much everyone then!). I welome blogs from professionals and suppliers as well as individual bloggers as long as they keep within the spirit of idea exchange and are not sales posts for products or services.
Our Inclusive Home

A 21st Century Train Station?

EJ & EW next to the closed barrier at a level crossing

There is a lot of buzz today about the opening of a brand new station in my home city of Cambridge! Cambridge North station!

I’m a big supporter of public transport, a bit of a transport geek, and particularly love all rails (trains, light rail and underground), I think I like the security of an obvious ‘stop’ to get on and off! I’m always a bit anxious on buses that I’ll miss my stop!  Being near a rail station has always been on my house-hunting criteria list, and my husband commutes most days by train.

I’m therefore really excited to see development and investment in the railway, but I am also really, really sad that the station has not been built to provide facilities for ALL of their current and future passengers.

Earlier in the year there was a media buzz around the rail network for a different reason, when Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike, bravely spoke out about her horrible experience, when she was forced to wee herself due to lack of accessibility on the train.  I wrote this post, Every Day is a Broken Toilet Day, at the time.

Anne Wafula Strike’s experience tells us that there are not enough accessible toilets in general, or in some circumstances the way to get to those toilets is or becomes inaccessible, e.g. when you’re on a train with a broken toilet and simply ‘hopping off’ at the next station isn’t possible as ramp access to trains has to be prearranged!

However, there is another layer to this that affects our family.  Even when there is an “accessible toilet” available on the train or in the station, it’s extremely unlikely that it will be accessible to us.

A typical accessible toilet, a “disabled toilet” or sometimes known as a ‘Doc M pack’ toilet is designed with a whole host of different disabilities in mind, but the size of the room and position of fittings is predominantly designed to enable wheelchair users to access the loo.  However, the term ‘wheelchair users’, in this context, really only applies to those who can walk a little, weight bear to stand and transfer or have the upper body strength to transfer from their chair to the loo.

Those who can’t transfer on their own to the loo or, like my daughter, need a place to lie down to have a pad changed, cannot access ‘accessible toilets’.  The kind of toilet facility we can use are known as Changing Places Toilets, essentially a larger room which provides enough space for carer assistance, a changing bench and a ceiling hoist to enable someone to be lifted from their wheelchair to the bench and/or to the loo.  Indeed the research carried out by the Changing Places Consortium estimates that accessible toilets are inaccessible to at least 1 in 260 people.

There was a lot of talk of making train travel fully accessible and promises not to allow what happened to Anne Wafula Strike to happen again, however…

No train that I am aware of has a changing places toilet type provision. The only way that we could freely access train travel throughout the UK as a family, is if all stations with passenger toilet facilities included changing places toilet facilities too, and if access to and from trains became more fluid, more spontaneous (i.e. you could easily hop off at the next suitable stop if you needed the loo!).

EJ & EW next to the closed barrier at a level crossingThe thing about going to the toilet, is that even continent people can’t always timetable the needs of their bladder or bowels, hence the need for customer and passenger toilets in publicly accessible buildings, around public services and public transport!  If you have continence issues, there is even less predictability.  You cannot book a long train journey with a plan to book a loo break at certain points, because you cannot predict when the need will occur!  It is neither pleasant for the person needing a pad change to sit in a soiled pad for a prolonged period, and as a train is a confinded space, it is not pleasant for other passengers either if that person cannot alight at the next station and have their needs met in a timely manner!

So, for the moment, the barrier is still down on train access for us.

The reason I am bringing this up in relation to Cambridge North is that I’m reliably informed that Network Rail were made fully aware of the need for changing places toilets (indeed they have installed some in some of their very large stations) but they refused to consider this provision in this brand new station.

The reason given was that this was not an interchange station, and gave the examples of London Euston and Newcastle where they do have changing places toilets!!! That is a long way to go for a loo! I wonder, would they pay the fare for us to reach the London loo from Cambridge?

Photo extract of new rail map with Cambridge North station addedI would have a little more sympathy with this reasoning, if there was a changing places toilets at the nearby interchange stations on this line, namely Cambridge Station and Ely Station.  Cambridge Station has had a lot of work done recently as part of the new station square development, but as far as I know, no signs of improved passenger toilets.

However as I mention earlier, if there’s little or no potential to provide changing places type facilities on the rolling stock, then how are disabled customers to plan rail journeys if there are not facilities on the station platforms that have facilities for other customers!?

Myself or my husband travelling alone, as independently mobile, and bladder and bowel continent, people we have the choice of using customer toilets at all large interchanges and many intermediate sizes stations as well as on all intercity and most suburban trains, but actually we’d also be able to find a customer toilet pretty easily near many stations in larger towns or cities if necessary, in local cafes, shops etc.  However those with the least mobility, and the least control of their continence, have the least choice and the least provision.  In Cambridge, you’d  have to walk (or wheel) for about 20/30 minutes from the station, past a multitude of restaurants, pubs, cafes and shops (many with customer toilets) to the Grand Arcade in the city centre to find a changing places toilet.

So back to my question, is this a 21st Century train station?

I truly hope not, because if that’s the case the 21st century is no more inclusive than the last.

If we are really serious about enabling ALL disabled people to access train services, there either has to be suitable toilet provision for ALL people on the trains themselves or at ALL but the smallest stations.


Spectrum Sunday
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday