Hailsham Town Council has agreed to fund a Changing Places room at the Western Road Recreation Ground, subject to various permissions.

The decision to spend up to £100,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on this much-needed facility in the town was taken by the Town Council’s Assets Management Committee and subsequently approved by Full Council at its meeting held on Wednesday [26 January]. The decision comes amidst a high-profile national campaign over the past few years to increase the numbers of these specialist toilet facilities.

Changing Places facilities are designed in a way so that they are completely accessible and provide sufficient space and equipment for people with multiple and complex disabilities, or who are not able to use a toilet independently.

Town Clerk John Harrison said: “The Town Council and its Assets Management Committee have investigated the possibility of installing a Changing Places facility and agreed that the most feasible location at this time would be the recreation ground in Western Road.”

“This is, however, subject to a number of permissions and other hurdles over the course of the next few months, but we have at least moved one step closer by deciding on the best location for the facility.”

Town councillor Mary  Laxton, who sits on the Assets Management Committee said: “The provision of a full Changing Places facility in Hailsham actually and its location was agreed at our recent meeting and supported by the majority of town council members.”

“It’s been a challenging debate from the outset. Inclusion, equality and dignity are values taken seriously by the Council in representing the residents in our community. Knockhatch Adventure Park and more recently Drusillas Park were also part of a local campaign to provide this vital facility locally, although it was considerably easier for them to negotiate and implement everything.”

“Many of my co-members at the Town Council were keen to understand how they could best help those with complex disabilities, and it is wonderful that we have been able to work together to agree the delivery of a Changing Places facility that will benefit the local community.”

“The next steps, including procurement and the obtaining of planning permission, are crucial and required in a timely manner.”