Paignton Zoo’s commitment to being modern, inspiring and inclusive is reaching all areas- even the toilets- to enable everyone to enjoy one of Europe’s top 10 zoos.
Wild Planet Trust has opened a Changing Places assisted accessible toilet at Paignton Zoo, by the Island restaurant- the Zoo’s main catering outlet. The state-of-the-art toilet facility is part of a larger refurbishment programme at the Zoo, intended to reflect the Trust’s “modern, inspiring and inclusive outlook”.
Supplied and installed by Closomat, the Changing Places toilet features all the space and key equipment to enable anyone who needs help to deal with their intimate care to do so in an appropriate environment. Without Changing Places, many disabled people cannot visit a venue, as they are unable to use standard wheelchair-accessible toilets(*).
The Changing Places toilet compliments a further facility already in situ at the Trust’s sister venue, Newquay Zoo, also undertaken by Closomat, and Paignton Zoo’s other five conventional accessible WCs.
“We aim to give our guests a good day out,” explained Adi Board, Paignton Zoo facilities manager. “The Zoo has, throughout almost 100 years, been at the forefront of innovation and committed to operating at the best levels we can. The refurbishment of the areas adjacent to the restaurant gave us an opportunity to upgrade and include a Changing Places toilet, so our accessibility provision is also to the highest standard possible. TripAdvisor has rated us as one of the top ten zoos in Europe: Changing Places will help enable even more people to enjoy and learn about the zoological and botanical diversity we offer.”
Under British Standards (BS8300:2018), it is best practice to provide a Changing Places toilet in addition to conventional accessible facilities in buildings where the public spend time. The facility should be 12m2, and include at least a peninsular WC, washbasin (preferably height adjustable), adult-sized height adjustable changing bench, full room cover ceiling track hoist and privacy screen. Since the concept was first developed over a decade ago, more than 1500 Changing Places have been opened across the country. Campaigners are lobbying Parliament to make such facilities a compulsory requirement in all major new pubic buildings.
Closomat has become the acknowledged leader in the design, supply, installation and subsequent maintenance of Changing Places; its website www.closomat.co.uk is now the ‘go to’ location for support information for all involved in the specification and build process, with NBS specifications, CAD blocks, white papers and guidance notes all available for free download.