Charities have backed calls for more Changing Places Toilets to be built in Peterborough city centre.
The Peterborough Unlimited campaign has said more of the accessible toilets are needed to help disabled visitors, and parents with young children.
The only Changing Places toilets are at Car Haven. Peterborough City Council recently secured funding to upgrade the disabled toilets at St Peter's Arcade, but this would still be a long distance for visitors to get to if they are visiting Queensgate.
Campaigners will be outside the Town Hall in Bridge Street on Saturday, June 25 to raise money for the new facilities which could cost up to £60,000.
"It cannot be right that families are staying away from Peterborough city centre because they worry about how they can go to the toilet.”
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: "As a children's doctor I am fully aware of how crucial Changing Places toilets are, and it cannot be right that families are staying away from Peterborough city centre because they worry about how they can go to the toilet.
"There is much more we can do with accessibility which fits in with my 3Cs: compassion, co-operation and community. I wish Peterborough Unlimited good luck with its fundraising and would encourage people to support this excellent cause."
MP for North West Cambridgeshire Shailesh Vara said: “It is absolutely crucial that those with disabilities and additional needs have proper access to toilet facilities in the city and can therefore feel comfortable visiting the city centre."
‘Shocking and heartbreaking residents don’t feel comfortable using city centre’
Alison Kerry, head of communications at disability equality charity Scope, which has a shop in Peterborough, said: “Having a centrally located Changing Places facility will be such an important and welcome addition to Peterborough’s city centre. It will make the world of difference for disabled residents and visitors.
“Many disabled people have to make hard decisions about where they can visit based on accessibility. The harsh reality is, if there aren’t suitable, accessible toilet facilities nearby, they have no choice but to go elsewhere to shop, socialise and spend their money.
“Disabled people have a collective spending power of approximately £245 billion per year. Businesses and amenities in Peterborough can enjoy a slice of this Purple Pound if the city centre and its facilities are accessible.”
Steve Conway, CEO at Deafblind UK, which has its head office in Peterborough, said: “It is shocking and heartbreaking to see that local residents don’t feel comfortable using Peterborough’s city centre because of its lack of accessibility.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to use public facilities regardless of any disability or health condition that they might have.”
Toilets would help businesses thrive
Nazreen Bibi, CEO of Alpha Autism Care, said: "Changing Places toilet facilities in Peterborough city centre would not only benefit disabled people but would also encourage more footfall to the city centre and hence help local businesses to thrive.
“Appropriate disabled toilet facilities are in line with basic human rights and Equality Act legislation - it's a shame that people must fundraise whilst disability rights legal frameworks are disregarded by the powers that be locally and nationally.”