The target of becoming ‘the most accessible city in Europe’ is set in Manchester with the opening of the local government’s first Changing Places toilet.

The new facility, in the purpose-built public toilet suite in the new Town Hall Complex in Lloyd St, enables disabled people and their carers to be able to enjoy the city for as long as they like, without worrying about access to appropriate toilets.

With equipment supplied by Manchester-based Closomat, the new Changing Places public toilet is the first of several planned by Manchester City Council: a further one is already scheduled for installation on the ground floor for the Town Hall complex when it opens in 2014.

The City is aiming to become the most accessible city in Europe, explained Lucy Heald, Town Hall Complex Transformation Programme Project Manager. We undertook considerable research and consultation at the design stage to ensure the new toilets- the only Council public toilets in the City centre- helped achieve that aim. We found a Changing Places toilet would make a huge difference to anyone who needed help to go to the toilet: otherwise they have to either curtail their trip, or not visit the City at all.

The Changing Places toilet is larger than a conventional accessible (disabled) toilet, to accommodate the user and their carer, and includes a height adjustable changing bench and ceiling hoist, supplied by Closomat, plus a shower, peninsular WC and washbasin. Users gain access to the Changing Places toilet on request, with the Suite team opening it as required, then cleaning it after use to ensure it is pristine for the next visitors.

Under the 2013 Building Regulations, it is ‘desirable’ to include a hygiene room facility such as a Changing Places toilet in public buildings. The Changing Places toilet is complimented in the Suite by a block of men’s toilets, ladies’ toilets- each of which also include a larger cubicle for ambulant disabled people, separate baby change, and two conventional accessible (Document M type) toilets.

Added Lucy,

The Suite means the whole family has appropriate toilets in the same place.

Closomat has a proven track record on the supply and installation of fully accessible toilets, including a substantial number of Changing Places facilities. Its ability to deliver design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment, including the Closomat wash and dry (automatic) toilet, means it is uniquely positioned to simplify the whole process for forward-thinking environments to which the public have access.