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Prince of Wales Pier toilets to be free to pee again
3:02pm Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
It will soon once again be free to take a pee at the Prince of Wales Pier toilets in Falmouth as Cornwall Council has agreed to remove the charging mechanism after an approach by the Packet.
Local residents Dave and Sarah Culling along with Steve Paget, chair of Disability Cornwall, complained to the council in the summer that the toilets were no longer accessible by wheelchair users because the paddle gates reduced the width of the entry corridor.
Despite repeated demands for action, the council declined to address the matter – that is until it was raised by a Packet reporter last week following the town council surgery which was attended by Mr and Mrs Culling.
Within days, the council had responded and announced that the paddle gates are to be removed, possibly as early as tonight, and not replaced, meaning the toilets will revert to being free of charge.
The council statement says: “At 770mm, the doors to the accessible toilet at the Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth meet the minimum width standards under building regulations in relation to access for wheelchair users within an existing building.
“However, working within the confines of the listed building, the gates have reduced the overall width of the entrance and we have recently been made aware that some users of the facilities do not have the same access as they did before.
“To address this we will remove the paddle gates and will be liaising with the contractors who fitted them to ensure full consideration of these issues takes place for future schemes.”
While the news has been welcomed by Mr Culling, he is disappointed action wasn’t taken much earlier. “It has taken so long for them to come forward and hold their hands up to this,” he said.
“They didn’t do their homework and having had it pointed out to them in July, they chose to ignore it until now. It’s just a pity that they have wasted thousands of pounds of tax payers’ money.”
Cornwall Council member for Penwerris, Hanna Toms, said: “The charging barriers stopped people in wheelchairs being able to access the facility in this central part of town. The charging was not popular anyway but when it leads to people not even being able to spend a penny it’s really not good enough. We need to be providing the best facilities for disabled users not the very minimum requirements.”
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