There is much talk among about ‘reasonable adjustments’. But what is reasonable? Is it reasonable to expect your small, independent café, with 20 covers, to provide the whole ambit of toilet facilities, right through to a full-specification Changing Places? It is reasonable to expect a national chain with numerous outlets, that turns over £millions a year and is visited by tens of hundreds, if not thousands, of people a day, to do so?
To put it into perspective, one of our campaigners has a major cinema chain nearby. It has a wheelchair-accessible toilet, she and her family need a Changing Places. When she asked if the venue could consider adding a Changing Places as part of a refurbishment, she was told no, there was a facility in town a mile away- she could use that couldn’t she?
Is it reasonable to have to leave a film half way through, exit the building completely, and travel a mile, just to use the loo?
One thought into the equation: under Building Regulations, is space is a consideration, then it is reasonable to provide one, unisex wheelchair-accessible toilet, that is a bit larger than a conventional supposedly ‘single sex’ facility, to accommodate the user and up to two carers who may be of a different sex- a disabled boy and his mother, for example.
And for our campaigner, in that situation, all she needs in addition is an extra 1.6m x 2.0m: the equivalent to your arms out in welcome!
In that space, the venue has room to install the adult-sized changing bench and hoist she needs. And not just her. Up to 15million other disabled people and their carers, families.