Museums and art galleries are among the public buildings in England that will be required to install Changing Places toilets under changes to building regulations proposed by the government.
A consultation on the proposals launched this week. The legislation will make the facilities mandatory in new large public buildings or those that are being materially altered, and will apply to museums that receive 300,000 or more visitors a year.
Changing Places facilities provide people with severe mental or physical disabilities with a safe and clean environment to use the toilet. Features include a height-adjustable, adult-size changing table, a tracking hoist, and adequate space for a disabled person and their carer.
The consultation states: “Changing Places toilets give severely disabled people and their families the opportunity to visit public places which they otherwise would not be able to and can therefore make a huge difference to their quality of life.”
The government estimates that there are around 1,300 Changing Places toilets in the UK, meeting the needs of around 250,000 people.
The local government minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “Everyone should have the freedom to enjoy days out in dignity and comfort. For severely disabled people, this is made very difficult because there are not enough Changing Places toilets.
“We’ve made some progress, but I’m determined to increase the number of these life-enhancing facilities, so people are given the dignity they deserve. I’m pleased so many people will be helped by this major change.”
Catherine Woodhead, the chief executive of the UK Muscular Dystrophy Trust, said: “This is wonderful news for everyone who needs Changing Places toilets. We look forward to working with the government and campaigners in making society more inclusive.”
The consultation runs until 21 July.