Further updates for residents on new public toilet facility in Hailsham

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Following the installation of two modular public conveniences and a Changing Places disabled unit in Vicarage Field on 22 March, the Town Council wishes to update residents on the completion of the project and opening of the premises in the coming weeks.

The new public conveniences in Vicarage Field, which was until recently being used as a bicycle storage facility, will be opened and available to use in the coming weeks, once the necessary water/service connections have been carried out successfully.

Furthermore, the Town Council would like reassure residents that, once the toilet block has opened to the public, a radar key/lock will only be required for use of the larger Changing Places facility. The radar locks on the other two (modular) facilities will be deactivated prior to opening.

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The external look of the new facilities fits in with the street scene and, internally, comprises an electronic hoist, a rise-and-fall changing table, shower toilet and wash basin, all of which are totally accessible.

Cllrs Colin Mitchell and Mary Laxton installing signage on new public toilets in Vicarage FieldiCllrs Colin Mitchell and Mary Laxton installing signage on new public toilets in Vicarage Fieldi
Cllrs Colin Mitchell and Mary Laxton installing signage on new public toilets in Vicarage Fieldi

A project originally proposed by Cllr Mary Laxton and seconded by Cllr Gavin Blake-Coggins several years ago, Hailsham Town Council agreed to the installation of a Changing Places facility in January 2022, which 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.

The installation of the new facility in Vicarage Field was funded from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), amidst a high-profile national campaign over the past few years to increase the numbers of these specialist public conveniences. The green light for the project came as good news for residents and visitors to the town, taking into account the decision made by the Town Council not to renew the lease on the former Cortlandt stable block building toilet facility in North Street, on cost grounds.

The Town Council is grateful to Wealden District Council for their co-operation on the joint-working project from the outset and for agreeing to install the facility on their land.

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"Hailsham Town Council acknowledges the importance of public conveniences availability," said Cllr Laxton, Chair of the Assets Management Committee. "The town centre toilet project is finally near to completion and the facilities have been installed by contractors. The only task remaining on this very exciting journey is the connection of water to the unit, which will happen very soon."

New public toilet facility in Vicarage Field, HailshamNew public toilet facility in Vicarage Field, Hailsham
New public toilet facility in Vicarage Field, Hailsham

"It has been a challenging task from the outset, firstly to agree a suitable location and secondly the associated management plan for the essential facilities. But we've finally got there! Inclusion, equality and dignity are values taken seriously by the Town Council in representing the residents in our community."

"My co-members and I were keen to understand how we could best help those with complex disabilities, and it is wonderful that we have been able to work together to succeed with the delivery of a Changing Places facility that will benefit the local community."

"The modular toilets and Changing Places pod will certainly create a buzz within the community and having these new toilets forms part of the Town Council's wider vision to make Hailsham a much more accessible place to live, whilst also supporting our local economy."

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Cllr Colin Mitchell, who has also been instrumental in the project's progress, commented: "It is wonderful to see the installation of the much-needed facilities in the town centre. This is an extremely important facility for people who cannot use a toilet on their own enabling them to live confident and independent lives.

New public toilet facility in Vicarage Field, HailshamNew public toilet facility in Vicarage Field, Hailsham
New public toilet facility in Vicarage Field, Hailsham

"Regarding the Changing Places unit in particular, the new facility will be a lifeline for people and their carers who often must choose between venturing out and staying at home because of their particular needs. The installation of the pod will also go a considerable way towards tackling inequalities and creating more inclusive spaces, whilst enabling people with disabilities to maintain their independence in their everyday life."