AN MP is calling for changes to planning regulations to include fully accessible toilets in new public buildings.
Abingdon MP Layla Moran signed a parliamentary motion that “urges the government to act on the clear public support to ensure that Changing Places facilities are built into all new buildings”.
The motion has been endorsed by members from all parties.
Ms Moran supported a recent petition to Vale of White Horse District Council that received hundreds of signatures demanding the council build “excellent, accessible loos” in Abbey Meadows following an upgrade to playground facilities.
The petition urges the district council to rethink its plans to create four unisex toilet cubicles and include a Changing Places facility nearby.
Changing Places toilets provide more space and extra facilities than standard disabled toilets to help people with multiple learning and physical disabilities, such as spinal injuries or multiple sclerosis.
Ms Moran said: “Residents and members of the Abbey Meadows Consultation Group have done amazing work to try and get the Vale to see sense and create a Changing Places facility at Abbey Meadows.
“There was huge disappointment when the cabinet decided to ignore the petition and I’m continuing to urge the council’s leadership to think again and to make sure that there is enough provision of accessible toilets so that everyone can get the most from the new facilities.
“As a result of this local issue I’m now backing a national campaign to change building and planning regulations so that all new public buildings have to have an accessible Changing Places facility.
“If local councils and developers are ignoring local need I think it is right that the Government takes action nationally to require planners to make sure there are truly accessible toilets and facilities for everyone.”
The online petition, organised by Naomi Richardson, has reached more than 740 signatures towards its target of 800.
The petition surpassed the minimum 500 signatures required for a full council debate, which took place at the council’s cabinet meeting on February 9.
Leader of Vale Cllr Matthew Barber told this newspaper shortly after that the council is “improving the disabled toilets beyond what currently exists” and is going “well above our statutory requirements”.
He added: “We are actively looking for alternative sites nearby which may be more suitable for a Changing Places toilet.”