Funding bids for Changing Places toilets in Bognor Regis, Littlehampton and Arundel

Arun district councillors have voted unanimously to bid for funding for five new accessible toilets.

An example of a Changing Places toilet

Government funding has become available in the last few weeks to allow local authorities like Arun to provide new Changing Places toilets.

The proposed locations are: Regis Centre car park, Bognor Regis, Wildfowl and Wetland Centre, Arundel, Hotham Park, Bognor Regis, Coastguard toilets, Littlehampton and Arundel town centre.

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There are currently two Changing Places facilities across the district at Aldingbourne Country Centre and The Wave Leisure Centre, Littlehampton.

Samantha-Jayne Staniforth (Con, Orchard) said: “As a mum who has changed a child on a toilet floor – because these facilities were not available when my son was younger – I can’t tell you how important these are.”

Amanda Worne (LDem, Yapton) also agreed the toilets are essential for disabled people.

As the funding became available with no prior warning, council officers have focussed on submitting bids for sites in Bognor Regis and Arundel before the September 26 deadline.

This means that a public consultation has not taken place, but ten access groups have been contacted for their thoughts on the plans with six responding.

Over the next decade, the council will commit to funding for toilet upkeep if the bids are successful.

Council officers originally planned to bid for funding for four new facilities but Grant Roberts (Con, Arundel and Walberton) called for a further Arundel bid.

He said: “Guidelines show we could be eligible for ‘significantly more funding’ as they are only a suggestion. 

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get and I think we should go further than what we’re bidding for here. “

His suggestion was unanimously approved by environment and neighbourhood services committee members on Thursday (September 23).

Steve Goodheart (Arun Ind., Hotham) also called for a bid to be placed to fund accessible facilities at Morrisons in Bognor Regis town centre.

However, committee chair David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) said he did not want to start a ‘wish list’ because there is ‘not an infinite amount of cash available’.

He said: “It isn’t the end- this is just the beginning.

“I’d like to see these facilities everywhere and we will strive to make that happen, but now we need to reign ourselves in just a little bit.

“There’s a significant investment required from this council to do five more but I think it’s well worth it.