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February 2024

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Published on 28 February 2024

Improving facilities for disabled people

Re-using existing buildings and almost £200,000 government grant from the Changing Places fund will enable Teignbridge to provide new toilets suitable for disabled people at Decoy Park Newton Abbot, Dawlish Warren and Dawlish Lawn.

The proposed Changing Places toilets are larger, accessible for all disabled people and include equipment such as hoists, privacy screens, adult-sized changing benches, peninsular toilets (which are at least a metre from the wall and has wheelchair space either side) and space for carers.

The government set up the Changing Places Fund to accelerate provision of disabled facilities, with the goal of bringing older buildings into line with new ones where this provision is mandatory.

All three Teignbridge council schemes will be implemented by refurbishing existing toilet blocks or using empty council buildings: the vacant Rangers Office at Decoy Country Park; the empty first aid room at Dawlish Warren and the reconfiguration of the current toilet block and disabled toilet area at The Lawn in Dawlish.

The new facilities will make the resorts more inclusive and will further boost the blue and green flag awards for these areas. They will allow carers and disabled children/adults to have greater access to beaches and country parks, safe in the knowledge that spacious, well equipped changing facilities are available.

Executive member for Estates and Assets, Cllr David Palethorpe said he was delighted that national grant funding had been attracted: “All public spaces should cater for people with disabilities, so they don't have to experience the indignity, discomfort, embarrassment, or even injury through not having access to a suitable changing place.

“I am delighted that Teignbridge Officers have identified suitable, available premises in each area and through a competitive tender process the specialist contractors who will deliver these much needed and essential facilities for disabled residents and visitors in time for the summer season” 

The work, which is being carried out by Mercury Construction South West, will start at The Lawn and Decoy on 11 March and Dawlish Warren from 22 April.