Residents of Brighton and Hove may soon be able to enjoy a day out in the Royal Pavilion Gardens without having to worry about the lack of accessible toilets, thanks to a new proposal by the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust (RPMT).
The site’s toilets have been closed since October 2022 due to their poor condition and high levels of anti-social behaviour. However, the entrance to the toilets is not visible from the garden or surrounding streets, making it harder to manage anti-social behaviour at the site.
To address this issue, RPMT has been working with the council to develop a funding application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to submit in summer 2023. If the proposal is approved, RPMT will be able to lease the land to provide accessible toilet facilities, supporting their application for funding and the wider redevelopment of the Royal Pavilion Gardens.
The gardens are the second phase of development for the Royal Pavilion Estate, and the first phase, which included the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre refurbishment, is nearing completion.
To ensure that the new toilets meet the needs of all visitors, an access audit of Royal Pavilion Gardens concluded that a Changing Places toilet (CPT) was required to remove accessibility barriers and enable people with disabilities to enjoy the gardens.
A CPT is designed to support the needs of all people with disabilities. They include a height-adjustable changing bench, an overhead track or mobile hoist, a peninsular toilet, privacy screen, and enough space for up to two carers.
Previous design plans for Royal Pavilion Gardens included a new CPT block within the boundary of RPMT’s lease arrangement, which would have meant the loss of significant green space within an already limited area.
The new proposal would repurpose the current block as part of the wider garden development project to avoid losing valuable space in the garden.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Leader of the Council said: “A key part of ensuring the future provision of public toilets is a business plan created by working with organisations and businesses across the city. This proposal will lease land to the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust to reopen the toilets in this location.”
The new toilets will be complimented by an accessible facility known as a ‘Changing Places toilet’, which would have no financial charge and accessed through the RADAR key scheme.
“Our budget allocated additional funding to public toilets, and we will reopen most public toilets in the coming months,” said Councillor Mac Cafferty. “Additional staff are being recruited to make this possible; we ask residents to bear with us while that recruitment progresses. This is all part of our plan to futureproof the city’s public toilets.”