Campaigner wins Gosport disabled loo access fight

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IT WAS victory for wheelchair-user Gillian Dear after the council agreed to improve a disabled toilet.

She had complained to Gosport Borough Council when a public loo was proving difficult for her to use.

(left to right) Suzanne Pepper, Alan Brind and Gillian Dear

(left to right) Suzanne Pepper, Alan Brind and Gillian Dear

But after her meeting Councillor Graham Burgess, the toilet, near the Gosport Ferry pontoon, will be improved for easier access.

Gillian said: ‘It’s brilliant that the council has decided to fix the disabled toilet.

‘With the slope the toilets are built on and the wide door specifically for disabled loos, it was hard for me to use it.

‘But I’m so happy that the council listened to my problems and is willing to fix it.

‘I was worried that in this current climate, with the financial problems, it would be difficult for the council to do anything but I am glad.’

Cllr Burgess met Gillian and used her chair to try to get into the disabled toilet.

While sitting in it, he found out how difficult it was to open the door and then manoeuvre himself into the cubicle.

He said: ‘I wanted to see first-hand what Gillian goes through when she wants to use this toilet.

‘It’s difficult with the slope and, although I could easily open the door, I’m stronger than Gillian.

‘So this is something that needs to be fixed.’

A possible option for the door is a mechanism that would allow the door to remain open for an allotted amount of time, enabling the user to get inside the cubicle. It would then shut on its own and would be the same for when they left.

Gillian, of Elmore Road, in Lee-on-the-Solent, added: ‘The solution to this problem is very simple and doesn’t cost a lot but it will help a great deal.

‘This is a very busy area of Gosport and many people use the toilets so they should have easier access.

‘Even wheelchair-users with carers could find this toilet hard to access.

‘Also, we get a lot of visitors here too so it is good to have a better facility for them.’