Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum (HBDAF) is working with Calderdale Council to re-open the accessible toilet on New Road, Hebden Bridge, in the evenings.
All public toilets in Calderdale close from around 6pm to prevent vandalism and damage. There are many pubs and restaurants in Hebden Bridge which are open in the evening, and are reasonably accessible to many disabled people, but do not have an accessible toilet. This means that disabled people are unable to go to these places as they have no access to public toilets in the town.
To remedy this, Calderdale Council has agreed to allow access in the evenings to the accessible toilet on New Road, Hebden Bridge for a trial period of four weeks from 25th September.
The toilet will now be open in the evenings for people with a National Key Scheme/RADAR key. For the trial to be successful, and so that the toilets do not suffer vandalism, it is really important that key holders ensure the toilet is secure when they leave.
It's really important that we work together to ensure this arrangement can be maintained going forward. While we would hope that it will be respected by all, should anyone notice any damage to the toilet, this should be reported to Calderdale Council's Facilities Management Team on 01422 392050. If any damage or misuse is witnessed, then this crime should be reported to the Police by phoning 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Many people have RADAR keys because of "invisible" disabilities like bowel disease or autism, or need space for a helper. Such people need a large and private toilet. It could be very distressing for a disabled person to be challenged when using the New Road toilet, just because they don't "look disabled". Remember not all disabilities are visible.
Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr Barry Collins, said, "This is a good example of the Council responding positively to a community need. We always want to make sure that our facilities are fit for purpose and of benefit to those who use or need them.
"I'd like to thank HBDAF for bringing the issue of a lack of accessible toilets in an evening in Hebden Bridge to our attention and I'm glad we've been able to provide a potential solution. I hope the initial trial period is a success."
Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum warmly welcomes new members. They meet in Hebden Bridge Town Hall at 2.30pm on the third Monday of each month, phone 01422 844914 for more information.