Toilets at 22 Motorway Service Areas are to be made more accessible for an estimated quarter of a million disabled people under new plans announced by the government.
The new facilities which are expected to be completed in the early 2020s will be improved with more space and new equipment. This will include adult sized changing benches and hoists, which will allow people with disabilities such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy that severely limit movement to use the bathroom in safety and comfort.
The 22 Service Areas, which will cost £724,000 to upgrade, are to be beneficiaries of the £2 million Changing Places scheme operated by the Department for Transport in cooperation with Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK).
The Service Areas represent more than a third of the total, including Heston in West London. The locations, which were chosen with help from MDUK, are to be supported on the basis of 50% of the cost being government funds and the rest from the private and charitable sector.
The fund was launched in April as part of the government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy which aims to provide equal access to the transport network by 2030. A second round of consultations have now been launched with operators of services on A-roads also invited to bid for funding. Changing Places toilets are being financed nationwide as the government hopes to upgrade more than 150 public buildings a year such as supermarkets, cinemas and stadiums with the facility.