Planning Bill will guarantee specialist toilets for disabled

Scotland's public places are to benefit from more specialist disabled loos complete with hoists and room for carers as a result of a proposed change to planning legislation.
Jeremy Balfour won the concession. Picture: Ian GeorgesonJeremy Balfour won the concession. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Jeremy Balfour won the concession. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Scottish Consevative Disability spokesman Jeremy Balfour has secured a provision in the forthcoming Planning Bill to include more so-called Changing Places toilets in buildings.

Changing Places toilets are specialist toilets that go above and beyond the standard disabled toilet design.

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They include equipment such as a tracking hoist, height adjustable benches and room enough to accommodate a disabled person and up to two carers.

When the new Scottish Planning Bill comes into force, new large venues such as schools, sports centres, hospitals or retail centres will be required to include a Changing Places toilet in their development in order to be granted planning permission.

Mr Balfour said: “This is a huge step forward for Scotland in including and supporting its disabled population.

“The current provision is shockingly poor with just 172 Changing Places toilets across the whole of Scotland and only 10 within Edinburgh. 

“It is only right and fair that disabled people are able to go about their daily lives; going to school, to the shops or a trip to the cinema, with the ability use a toilet facility comfortably and safely – something we all tend to take for granted.

“I am pleased to have championed this cause at the Scottish Parliament and hope it will bring the day a step closer when disabled people and their carers are spared the indignity of having to resort to using toilet floors or car boots as their only option for changing facilities.”

Laura Rutherford who’s six year old son Brody requires a Changing Places Toilet due to his disability said: “Using the toilet is a basic human right. Yet thousands of disabled people, like my son Brody, are denied this right when they go out due to a lack of Changing Places toilets.

“Without Changing Places toilets, many families are unable to enjoy a simple day out without having to change their loved ones in unsafe, unhygienic and undignified places, like public toilet floors.

She added: “Our loved ones deserve better than this. 
This proposed amendment to the Planning Bill is a fantastic step forward in ensuring that Scotland becomes truly inclusive.”