Thanks to Emma for this article.
Accessible toilet gets a boost.
A couple of months ago for my birthday my parents bought me tickets to see Wicked the Musical. I’d wanted to see it for years but the theatre in London appears to have somewhat dodgy access and it hadn’t toured anywhere near me. It was coming to Milton Keynes which is doable at just over an hours drive from here but can’t be called close.. I was surprised with the news that come February my Dad and I would be off to see it.
Fast forward to the Saturday just gone and Dad and I were off. The plan was we’d go a few hours early so I could have a wander round the very accessible Centre MK (a large shopping centre) then we’d grab some dinner and go to the theatre. The two are opposite each other so it works well.
Centre MK is good at access. It’s huge but the floors are easy to wheel on, each of the entrances to centre seems to have at least one door with a push button to open automatic door (I was amused to see people walking up t them then standing there confused when they didn’t open) and there’s a shop mobility.
It’s toilet facilities leave something to be desired but that’s the case for everyone. The problem is there are only public toilets in one location in this very large centre. Some of the bigger stores such as BHS provide toilets as well but only one set in the actual facilities of the centre. They also say they have a changing places toilet but I’ve not used it.
The disabled toilets are pretty good (there were several and the side the toilet was on varied). A decent size for once and without baby changing tables in there which is always good. I thought there was a fair contrast between the walls (black tile) and the grab rails (white) but it was maybe a little dark. Plus they had provided the not always included mirror and had it at a good height to be seen from my chair. So for once I could check my hair.
It had the usual disabled loo niggles. The ones that are so common that I’m wondering if planners and builders have some form of list of “things you should do wrong in a disabled loo because it wouldn’t be a normal disabled toilet in the UK if they weren’t wrong”. Bins in the transfer space and a red cord on the wall side of the toilet. At least the cord was hanging down and not tied up.
I couldn’t help laughing when I went to the loo though. On the wall of each toilet was a sign reading “if you require a booster seat please ask at customer services (customer services and the toilets are in the same area but not next to each other – there’s a space with seats, a cash point etc. in between).
I realise they meant a raised toilet seat. But booster seat made me think of those little plastic tray like things kids use in restaurants and cinemas etc. And the idea made me giggle picturing wheelchair users carrying a brightly coloured plastic booster seats through the shopping centre. Then transferring from their chairs to toilets that were massively too tall for them with their feet dangling off and waving from side to side like a child sitting on a “grown up” seat.
Just a silly example but one that made me smile.