Thursday 20 June 2024
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Funding for new accessible toilets in a Nottingham park

Extra Government funding has been approved to build new accessible public toilets at a popular Arnold park.

Gedling Borough Council plans to have new toilets installed at King George V Recreation Ground, off Central Avenue.

The facility will be fully accessible and will be part-funded by the Government’s Changing Places Fund.

A Changing Places toilet is a large facility for disabled people, featuring equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized benches and space for carers.

The authority was told by Government in February it will be given £40,000 to fund the new facility in the park.

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Other Nottinghamshire councils have been successful in Changing Places bids, including in Mansfield where a similar facility will be built in the new £9m Warsop Health Hub.

A further £37,000 will be provided to Gedling Council through the Shared Prosperity Fund, a Government ‘levelling up’ pot aimed at improving town centres.

The two grants will couple with the authority’s previously-approved budget of £113,300 to bring forward the toilet, taking the total project cost to £190,300.

The cash was accepted by the Labour-run council at the end of March and now work on the toilets is due to begin.

When the toilets were first confirmed, the authority said in a statement: “These improvements will provide a valuable facility for people visiting the park, the town centre and the brand new Arnold Market Place.

“The Changing Places toilet planned for the site is a specialist facility to help meet the needs of people with severe disabilities who may need extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably.

“The proposed position of the building has been carefully selected to minimise antisocial behaviour.

“It will be visible from the nearby car park, play area and park entrance and CCTV is already in place that will monitor the site 24/7.

“The building will only be open during park opening hours and will be lit at night.

“We consulted with residents on the plans back [last year] and received overwhelming support, with 97 per cent of people responding in favour of the development.”

Council documents say the public toilet block will feature the Changing Places facility and two separate toilets, which will not be gender-specific.

The two toilets will be self-contained and will be available to both residents and shoppers using the nearby town centre.

The council says the toilet is specifically aimed at bringing more people into the town who may have been put off due to a lack of “suitable amenities”.

The authority added: “The proposed scheme is intended to have a high positive impact on these groups’ ability to access the town and contribute to reducing social and economic isolation.”

The scheme has also been welcomed by a regular user of the recreation ground who said it is a “nice and positive” idea.

Katherine Taylor, 47, who walks her dog in the park said: “It has to be a good thing.

“Obviously some people will be concerned about crime or anti-social behaviour, which is fair.

“Blocks like this can be a magnet for that.

“But if it helps people who might be put off and gets them into town, that’s nice and it’s something positive.”

Arnold also has other public toilets on Wood Street and Front Street, but neither toilet includes accessible facilities for people with disabilities.

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