Langney Shopping Centre bosses say they hope to improve toilet facilities for wheelchair users as it was revealed the multi-million refurbishment of the mall will still mean the disabled facilities are outside.
Campaigners have long been upset that wheelchair users and people needing to a baby change have to go outside the Kingfisher Drive Centre to use an outdoor toilet and hoped the £6M refurbishment would mean an indoor facility could be provided.
But centre officials say they that is not in the pipeline and are hoping instead that a proposed gym due to open might have disabled toilets which could be used by wheelchair users.
Ian Westgate from the Eastbourne Access Group said, “I am concerned on two fronts – the first being the obviously archaic concept of an outdoor wheelchair accessible toilet. This is particularly bad as it requires a wheelchair user and possibly a carer to leave the centre, perhaps during particularly inclement weather, and travel to the furthest place on the perimeter of the building to access a toilet.
“There is no shelter on this route so imagine if you can a situation where a wheelchair user with a lap full of rainwater finds the toilet to be occupied. Where is there shelter from the elements? The same would apply to a parent with a child who needs changing. The internal toilets are no better in that they are accessed down a steep stairway difficult at the best of times but even more so for a parent with a toddler and a baby buggy.
To develop a shopping centre is good but not addressing the toilet provision is disgraceful.
Centre manager Neil Avis said, “I appreciate the current location of the toilets is not ideal for some customers.
“We are also in talks with the NHS about building a new health hub at the centre and there would also be more accessible toilets as part of that.”