Woman's anger as shopping centre's disabled toilet boarded up

Anglia Square and Magdalen Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Anglia Square and Magdalen Street - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A carer and her disabled daughter have hit out at the private company behind Norwich's Anglia Square shopping centre for making the 'ridiculous' decision to board up the public toilets.

Tricia, who did not want to reveal her last name, visits the shopping complex a few times a week with her 46-year-old daughter who suffers from Rheumatoid arthritis and spinal cancer. 

The toilets have recently been blocked off, with management company Columbia Threadneedle attributing it to troubles with antisocial behaviour.

But Tricia said: "The male, female and disabled toilets were open during lockdown, then once restrictions eased they were blocked off without warning.

"It's ridiculous."

Anglia Square. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Anglia Square, near Magdalen Street in Norwich - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A spokesperson for the management company behind Anglia Square, Columbia Threadneedle, said: "There have been issues with antisocial behaviour and vandalism taking place within the toilets which has, regrettably, resulted in the need to close them for safety reasons.

"We are currently reviewing this.”

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But the 68-year-old continued: "It's a huge access issue for people like me and my daughter. We are both disabled and have a RADAR key to use the disabled toilet.

"We rely on that one because my daughter has a wheelchair and struggles to walk, and many businesses don't have toilets big enough to accommodate that.

"The idea that the disabled toilet was blighted by antisocial behaviour is a load of rubbish, because only people with a key could get into it."

She said that while she'd seen many people on Facebook arguing the toilets were simply "drug dens" and that their loss would be negligible, for Tricia and her daughter they were a lifeline.

"There was nothing wrong with the ones at Anglia Square", she said.

Disabled toilet sign. Picture: Bill Darnell Copy: Stephen Pullinger For: EDP © EDP Pictures 2004

Disabled toilet sign. Picture: Bill Darnell Copy: Stephen Pullinger For: EDP © EDP Pictures 2004

"Since they closed up I've seen the number of people shopping at the square reduce dramatically."

Her daughter echoed: "I used to go shopping there but it puts me off knowing the disabled toilet is gone."

Anglia Square has been blighted by controversy in recent years, with plans for a proposed £271m revamp being thrown out by the government.

Developer Weston Homes, with investment firm Columbia Threadneedle, had wanted to replace the buildings with new blocks, including 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks, a 200-bed hotel, the tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.