New £140k toilets will make the Forest ‘accessible for all’

By Jake Chown  
Friday 8th April 2022 6:00 am

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THE district council is looking to enhance accessibility at several key sites in the Forest after securing £140,000 from the Government to install new “fully-accessible” public toilets.

Four new ‘Changing Places’ toilets are set to be installed at Cinderford Town Council’s Rheola House and the soon to be regenerated former HSBC bank, the Orchard Trust in Lydbrook and the new Community Sports Hub in Five Acres thanks to funding confirmed in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement last week.

Changing Places are larger toilets for those who cannot use standard accessible toilets.

They have equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers.

Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Paul Hiett, said: “We are continually looking for ways that we can make the Forest of Dean more accessible for all, and the Changing Places toilets are a great way to enhance this accessibility and make life easier for those in need.

“This will also form a key part of our redevelopment of the Five Acres site enabling more people to enjoy the facilities when they are completed.

“Thank you to our dedicated officers who worked hard to pull this bid together with The Orchard Trust and Cinderford Town Council”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has allocated £23.5 million to 191 councils to install more than 500 new Changing Spaces.

The council says the Cinderford town centre and Five Acres Sports Hub locations were chosen to complement the Levelling Up funding previously secured for their redevelopment.

A modular toilet will be installed at The Orchard Trust in Lydbrook and will be accessible to people using the site, their day service clients and people visiting the area who may need to use the facility.

It is expected to be installed by the end of the summer.

Cathy Andrews, CEO of Orchard Trust, said: “We are very excited about this news.

“A Changing Place will be a fantastic addition to the range of accessible facilities our Stowfield site offers to disabled people in the Forest of Dean and visitors to the area.

“This new facility will allow many more people to enjoy a day out knowing the support they need is there for them.”

In Cinderford, a Changing Places toilet will be installed at the former HSBC site in the winter.

It will be operated by radar key, which means it will be accessible to the public at all times.

A second toilet will be installed at the town council’s Rheola House and is anticipated to be completed in the autumn.

A spokesperson from Cinderford Town Council said: “Changing Places toilets will make an important difference to all who live in and visit the Forest of Dean.

“Cinderford Town Council are delighted funding has been secured by FoDDC and this much needed facility will be available at both the former HSBC Bank and Rheola House.” 

Cinderford Town and District Councillor Di Martin added: “We have waited a long time to get such a fantastic provision in the Forest.

“I am proud to think Cinderford Town Council has taken the initiative to provide a much needed facility in our Forest town.” 

The fourth Changing Places toilet will be installed at the former Speedwell building at Five Acres, which is being renovated to create the council’s new Community Leisure Hub.

The hub is anticipated to open in December.

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