Work to create a new Changing Places toilet in the Unity office near Andover bus station has begun.
Delivered by Test Valley Borough Council, the new facility will be for those with multiple and complex disabilities and will be fully accessible with a changing bench and hoist. It will be the first facility of its kind provided by the council in the town and will be much larger than a standard disabled facility to help accommodate one or two carers.
The first stage of the project will involve creating a new store for Unity in the Chantry Centre car park, which will free up space in the Unity office for the new Changing Places facility. The building work to deliver the new toilet is due to be completed in January 2019.
The council identified the need for a Changing Places toilet in the town centre after local resident, Amy Attrill, submitted a petition to the authority as she struggled to find suitable facilities to change her son when away from home.
The petition attracted almost 2,000 supporters.
Amy said, “It is great that preparation work has started to enable the delivery of the new Changing Places facility and I look forward to seeing it once complete. I would like to thank the council once again for their commitment to this project as this really will make such a difference to all those with complex disabilities and their families and carers.”
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said, “I am really pleased that work has started on the new Changing Places toilet. I am passionate about ensuring that our town is accessible to all and this new facility is key to that.”
Chris Dixon, CEO from Andover and District Mencap, commented, “It is important that we don’t underestimate the impact that the Changing Places toilet will have on those who need access to such a facility.
“This really is great news for the town.”
Unity chief executive, Terry Bishop, added, “It is fantastic that work has now started and I am once again delighted that we have been able to accommodate the new Changing Places toilet in the Unity office.”
Places for People Leisure is also set to install an additional Changing Places toilet in the new Andover Leisure Centre.