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Case Study: Nottingham


Theme – Community Toilet Campaign

In winter 2004, we reported in our regular newsletter ‘The Toilet Paper’, that Nottingham Council’s Social Services Department had recently run extensive user trials of a fully accessible toilet cubicle that included an adult changing bench and a hoist. By Spring 2005, the research team was contacted by Mrs Pat Tomlinson of the Nottingham Pensioners Action Group (NPAG), who enquired about our report and informed us about NPAG’s campaign to save the toilet facilities in the Nottingham area. NPAG’s campaign had begun in early 2005, on learning that toilets in the central area of Nottingham City Centre were to close as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment of Nottingham’s central square. NPAG began to raise awareness about the issue by contacting the local media, and by writing letters to the Council, the Government Office for the East Midlands and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. One action that did result from the campaign was that Mr & Mrs Tomlinson were invited to be the last users of the existing facilities before they closed!


Information provided by Nottingham Council regarding the redevelopment of the Old Market Square made no mention of including new toilet facilities within the development. With no knowledge of any plans for new facilities to replace those that had closed, NPAG members stepped up their campaign, holding protests outside the city’s Council House. These actions drew more press coverage, including that of local radio and television.


An essential element of NPAG’s campaign was for the toilets to be fully accessible to people with disabilities including the provision of adult changing facilities. By Christmas 2005, NPAG had learnt that their campaign had been successful and that fully accessible toilet facilities including adult changing facilities were to be built on a street just off the central square area. The toilet opened in May 2006 with a ceremony attended by Mr & Mrs Tomlinson and other NPAG members. Mr Tomlinson reported in the Nottingham Evening Post (May 2006) that the new facilities were ‘beautiful’ and that the Council had ‘done a good job’. As the first Local Authority maintained fully accessible public conveniences to offer adult changing provision within England, the new facilities in Nottingham also became the benchmark for provision in a campaign called Changing Places to encourage more providers to install adult changing facilities.


The facilities provided by Nottingham Council were recognised for their excellence and awarded a Community Care Award in January 2007. The Nottingham Pensioners Action Group (NPAG) continues their campaign against poor access and closures of toilets in the Nottingham area.

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