Access all areas
To make sure that the council’s Shire Hall improvement programme creates the most accessible building possible, a motion has been brought to full council.
At the meeting today (12th Sept), councillors supported plans for a new Changing Places toilet to be installed as part of improvements to Shire Hall.
Changing Places toilets are fully accessible and provide additional equipment such as adult sized changing benches, a hoist system and space for up to two carers. The motion requests that when the improvement work has been completed and a full audit carried out, that one of the toilets is installed.
Work has been taking place inside and outside of the Westgate Street headquarters of Gloucestershire County Council since January 2018, and will see Shire Hall become one of county’s most energy efficient buildings.
Energy efficient windows and cladding as well as energy generating solar panels on the roof have been installed, with a new café created in the former Police offices in Bearlands.
The work is due to be completed later this year, and following unanimous support across the chamber, a full audit will be carried out when it is done.
The motion was proposed by Cllr Lesley Williams (Stonehouse, Lab & Green Co-op) and seconded by Cllr Klara Sudbury (Charlton Park & College, Lib Dem).
Cllr Lesley Williams, leader of Labour and Green Co-Operative party at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “You can’t help but notice the works going on at Shire Hall, and the green elements are to be applauded, but we also need to ensure that Shire Hall is fully accessible.
“The decision to install a changing places toilet will not only benefit our staff but also people with a disability visiting the building. Combined with improved signage and ramps, that can only be a good thing, so I’m pleased council support this proposal to ensure that all aspects of the building are accessible to everyone”
Cllr Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The refurbishment work of Shire Hall is progressing well and will bring our building into the 21st Century.
“We have made a number of changes that will help to create a suitable working environment for all staff and visitors. As with any project of this scale, there will always be a full audit to check accessibility and we will engage with disability groups in that.”
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Any modern workplace should be accessible to all, staff and visitors alike.
“It is important to us that we make life as easy as possible for people using the building and I’m pleased that a full and proper audit will be carried out to make sure the improvements are to the highest standards possible.”
You can watch the council meeting back here: https://gloucestershire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home