Relief as High Street loos are set for major revamp

November 12, 2008 1:49 PM
By Brentwood Gazette reporter in Brentwood Gazette

RAMSHACKLE public toilets could be given a £290,000 makeover.

Plans have been drawn up to revamp Brentwood's existing High Street toilets, while at the same time building new easy- access disabled conveniences at street level, with a baby-changing facility.

The new facilities, if given the go-ahead, would see a room created large enough for a disabled person and two carers.

It will be fitted with an adjustable height changing bench and hoist for people with severe disabilities and complex physical needs.

Councillors, desperate to give Brentwood shoppers the modern facilities they deserve, are now looking at how to fund the project.

Although the High Street itself is undergoing a multi-million pound facelift, no funding for the toilets themselves exists in this year's budget.

Money from the council's Assizes Trust Fund, which collects almost £1.5million every year from rent and other sources and is normally spent on improving the borough, is being seriously considered.

Chairman of Brentwood council's environment committee, Cllr Russell Quirk, said: "The council is seeking to spend more money on the existing toilets so that they offer improved access to residents and visitors with disabilities, and also provide proper baby changing facilities."

Cllr David Kendall, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Brentwood, said: "We owe it to our residents to get the High Street toilets refurbished and the new street-level facilities built as soon as possible.

"Funding provision for the toilets should have been made within the budgets for the High Street improvements, but if it hasn't, we have substantial funds in the Assizes Trust that could be used to turn this project into a reality."

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Mike Le-Surf, added: "I am delighted that a Changing Places facility is being considered.

"Changing Places is a national campaign supported by Mencap that has been running in Brentwood for a few years.

"This progress is a credit to all the residents who are promoting community inclusion for people with learning difficulties."

The Changing Places Consortium has launched a campaign on behalf of people with learning disabilities. Changing Places toilets have enough space for disabled people and their carers, and the right equipment.