A local campaigner has voiced her delight at a regulation change that will see new public buildings include more Changing Places toilets.
Milton Keynes-based campaigner and blogger Kerry Thompson endorsed the move as the enhanced access would allow disabled people greater freedom.
Her statement came after the government backed plans to include extra Changing Places toilets, which are larger accessible toilets for severely disabled people, along with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers.
A major change to building rules in England will require thousands of large (12m2) and well-equipped accessible toilet facilities to be designed and built into new public buildings, from next year.
The government estimates it will add the toilets to more than 150 new buildings a year. A £30 million fund to install Changing Places in existing buildings will open in the next few months.
Shopping centres, sports stadiums, supermarkets and arts venues are among buildings covered by the changes.
Thompson voiced her delight. She said, “This is incredible news. Having access to more changing places toilets means freedom. For not just myself but the 250,000 other disabled people and their families.
“Having this much needed change to building regulations guidance will make life easier and more fulfilling. It opens up a whole new world for everyone that needs these life changing facilities. All these changes are helping myself and thousands of others to live the life that we choose, not one that is chosen for us.”
The government’s Building Accessibility Minister Lord Greenhalgh said, “For too long, the lack of Changing Places toilets has meant that severely disabled people have faced severe difficulties in attending public places.
“Changing Places toilets give disabled people and their carers the space and equipment they need to have the confidence to leave their homes and go out.
“We are making the installation of these toilets compulsory in hundreds of new public buildings in years to come to help bring major, life enhancing freedoms to the more than 250,000 people who need them.”