New-look accessible toilet facilities open in Seahouses following £137,000 revamp
Refurbished public toilets have opened in a Northumberland seaside hotspot.
The £137,000 works in Seahouses have been completed before the start of the main tourism period, and include new vanity units and laminated cubicles, eco-friendly urinals, hand sanitisers, automatic lighting, taps, sanitary bins, hand dryers, soap dispensers and toilet flushes.
They also incorporate a ‘Changing Places’ facility - for those with multiple or profound physical and/or learning disabilities. This includes a height adjustable adult size changing bench, a hoist system and sufficient space for two carers.
Greg Gavin, head of neighbourhood services at Northumberland County Council, said: “Previously these toilets offered only a very basic service and they’re also in a key tourist destination and very well used, so it was important the work was complete before the main influx of visitors this year.
“We also know the availability of Changing Places toilets can make a huge difference to people with a range of disabilities and their carers, helping them to access their communities and our many tourist destinations, and so the alterations to the existing disabled toilet to provide this much improved facility was a key element of this scheme.”
Throughout the work, the council worked closely with Newcastle University on the design of the accessible facilities.
Professor Janice McLaughlin, from Newcastle University's School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, said: "Researchers from our Nowhere To Go project helped inform decisions with ideas from people with different needs and their carers.
"We emphasised the value of Changing Places Toilets, and other low-cost changes to toilet design, that make a significant difference to accessibility, in particular for people with hidden disabilities."
The new toilets are open every day from 7:30am until 8.30pm during the summer months and the Changing Places facility is accessible with a Radar key.
In accordance with the council’s Covid-19 risk assessments and working methods, the toilets will be cleaned three times a day and there are currently ‘one in/one-out’ arrangements in place to ensure users are able to maintain social distancing while using the facilities.
The council is also refurbishing the public toilets at Green Lane on Holy Island in a £184,000 project.