Council wins government cash for state of the art public loos

Pictured on a walkabout of March: from left, Cllr Jan French, Cllr Chris Seaton, Cllr Ray Jack, Dr N

Pictured on a walkabout of March earlier this year: from left, Cllr Jan French, Cllr Chris Seaton, Cllr Ray Jack, Mayor Dr Nik Johnson and Cllr Chris Boden, Fenland Council leader. - Credit: FDC

New toilets for Broad Street, March, will be even better than first planned after Fenland District Council won government funding.  

The council is getting two state-of-the-art accessible toilets (the other is for Wisbech Park) after its successful bid for £160,000.  

The toilets, called Changing Places toilets after a campaign which began in 2005, are intended for people with a range of severe and profound disabilities who need specialised facilities when they are out and about. 

 Larger than standard accessible toilets, the Changing Places toilets provide extra equipment such as hoists, curtains, and adult-sized changing benches, and space for carers, to enable people to use them safely and comfortably. 

The council will add the new facilities to new toilets that will be built  as part of the March Future High Streets Fund regeneration work. 

Fenland was one of 191 councils to be awarded a share of £23.5million of government funding to install 500 Changing Places toilets in public places across England. 

Cllr Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for parks and open spaces, said: “This is great news for residents of Fenland and for potential visitors to the district. 

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“It will enable people with severe disabilities, their families and carers to go shopping, enjoy a day out and travel without needing to worry about whether they will have access to suitable toilet facilities.” 

Cllr Ian Benney, the cabinet member for strategic assets and management, added: “Standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability so this will make a world of difference for some of our residents and visitors.” 

The council anticipates opening the March toilet later this year, prior to construction works in Broad Street as part of the March Future High Streets Fund project in 2023. 

The Broad Street toilets for last modernised a decade ago as part of a £500,000 ‘loo initiative’ for all four Fenland towns. 

Providing fit for purpose loos was essential, said town councillor Jan French who has fought to win approval for the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).  

“On a scale of one to ten – and ten being the higher rating – I'd say we are on at least a nine in getting what our town needs and deserves,” she said.