London needs more gender-neutral public toilets, says mayor’s plan

Sadiq Khans planning blueprint will call for more public loos, and different types of lavatories to cater to peoples differing needs

More gender-neutral lavatories should be built in public spaces to help trans and non-binary people feel more comfy, according to Sadiq Khan’s new London Plan.

The mayor’s planning blueprint for London will argue that more public toilet should be built across the capital, including in commercial developings, to reflect the diversity of the city.

The document, due to be published this week, will include guidance saying more toilets must be built in shops, leisure facilities and large public areas that are suitable for all users, including disabled people, older people and households with young children.

For the first time, the London Plan also calls for the provision of gender-neutral toilets for trans and non-binary people.

In addition, it will argue for more” changing places lavatories”, which are designed to be suitable for people with profound and multiple impairments, some people with learning disabilities and people who require the assistance of a carer. These are different to standard disabled toilets, with additional features including a height adjustable changing bench, height adjustable sink, a toilet designed for assisted use and a hoist.

Khan said he was concerned that some Londoners and visitors to the city are restriction over where they can visit and how long they can spend somewhere because the capital does not have enough appropriate toilet facilities.

” I have vowed to be a mayor for all Londoners so I am determined to ensure that everyone has the ability to enjoy our great city to its fullest ,” he said.

” Toilets are a vital public service and can help to shape the experience of the capital for those who live here and for those visit. We need a range of lavatories that reflect the unbelievable diversity of this city- devoting people the confidence to move around London with dignity .”

Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, the charity for LGBT rights, said:” We’re pleased the mayor has utilized the London Plan to call on councils to create more gender-neutral toilets, and so help meet the needs of all Londoners and the city’s many guests. Gender-neutral lavatories are a practical answer for many people, for many reasons and it’s a powerful demo of acceptance that has benefits for everyone.

” But this move isn’t just practical, it’s symbolic. By introducing gender-neutral lavatories, planners can show that London is a city that cherishes its diverse population .”

The plan also pleased charities for older people and those campaigning for disability rights. This year, half of respondents to an Age UK survey of over-7 5s said the issue of too few loos was a “regular” problem when going out shopping.

Paul Goulden, chief executive of Age UK London, said:” It is reassuring to see that the mayor’s London Plan has committed to building most accessible public toilets across the capital. We want as many older Londoners as possible to be able to move confidently around their city without restriction and this pledge should go a long way to improving their experiences when out and about in London.

” The commitment to building more changing places toilets is especially encouraging, as many older people contend with limited mobility or necessitate the purposes of a carer. We look forward to the provision of the new free, publicly accessible toilets across the city .”

Robert Meadowcroft, chief executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, added:” The mayor has quite rightly recognised that we need changing places toilets so that profoundly disabled people won’t face a choice between exclusion or changing on the floor of a public toilet.

” Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Changing Places Consortium welcomes this positive move and are keen to work with London’s train stations, shopping centre, cultural institutions and attractions to get more facilities built and make sure the city is accessible for all .”

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