Due to recent changes being trialled at public toilets, specifically accessible toilets, many disabled people now experience difficulty in accessing these facilities.
DC are concerned that Radar Key toilets and, other accessible toilets are now being fitted with coin machines which impede access for many disabled people.
We have received complaints from disabled people prevented from using the facilities because of the alterations made at toilets in Falmouth and Marazion. This might be perceived to be indirect discrimination which is unlawful.
The Equality Act (part 3) sets out in principle that people with protected characteristics as set out in the Act should not be discriminated against when using any service provided publicly or privately, whether that service is for payment or not.
We understand that Cornwall Council plan to pass responsibility of running public toilets to others (i.e. Town Councils).
We believe that a reasonable adjustment must be made for disabled people. Even with the Council passing over responsibility, the Equality Act makes it clear that even after a relationship has ended, if an affected group are put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to non-disabled people then this may be viewed as indirect discrimination. Therefore, even if Cornwall Council has handed over its responsibility, it must be Cornwall Council which implements a reasonable adjustment.
It would appear that Cornwall Council may have failed in its anticipatory duty to address the barriers it has placed on the use of public toilets for use by disabled people.
BBC Radio Cornwall’s Laurence Reed is talking about this subject on his Radio Programme today at 12 mid day till 3.00pm.
Why not call in and have your say?