When you have a high number of disabled visitors to an attraction, having the right facilities to accommodate their needs is essential. We were approached by North Northamptonshire County Council who were looking to create Changing Place facilities at East Carlton Country Park – a stunning country park set in 102 acres of parks and woodland, and which welcomes more than 400,000 visitors every year.

With no available space in the existing Visitor Centre to accommodate a Changing Place toilet, the client wanted to place a Care Capsule™ in the grounds of the country park, adjacent to the Visitor Centre building.

The Care Capsule is a customisable, modular Changing Place toilet that is constructed offsite and then transported to the desired location. This helps to reduce security and safety issues and limit disruption on site, as well as reducing waste. In addition, the Care Capsule is transportable should it need to be relocated in the future.

Overcoming the issue of access

While there was plenty of space available for the Care Capsule™, the existing site infrastructure made it impossible to get the vehicle needed to carry the unit up to the site. This meant that instead of being delivered as a prefabricated unit, the Care Capsule™ had to be delivered in kit form and then assembled onsite.

Electrical services were 150m away from the location for the Care Capsule™. This meant that it was necessary to get a specialist subcontractor to dig and lay an armoured cable to the site. Meanwhile, water from an adjacent toilet block and drainage was plumbed in to bring all services online.

Limiting impact on the surrounding natural environment

One of the biggest challenges of placing a Care Capsule™ into a space like a country park is the need to try and preserve the surrounding environment as much as possible. Buildings generally require a concrete base to make them level and provide a suitable foundation on which to build. However, laying concrete causes significant damage to tree roots and has a high carbon footprint.

To limit the environmental impact of the build, the decision was made to use ground screws. These screws are galvanised steel piles driven 1.2m into the ground that eliminate the need for concrete and create a stable foundation for the Care Capsule™. The screws can be installed and ready for use in a few hours, avoid any damage to tree root systems, and can be removed easily if required.

Customisable features a highlight of the Care Capsule

The customisable nature of a Care Capsule™ enabled the client to choose features to suit their preferred style. They chose to have the unit clad in a brick that closely resembled the adjacent Visitor Centre so that the two buildings looked similar. And as an external unit, a steel security door has been fitted. A modest entry platform was incorporated to ensure level access from the Visitor Centre to the Care Capsule™.

The specifications for the Care Capsule fit-out met the requirements of BS8300 – the Changing Places standard, and the client specifically requested Fibo® waterproof internal cladding with a feature colour wall for extra contrast and visual interest.

Care Spaces has delivered awareness training on the Care Capsule™ to park staff, who are looking forward to marketing the new space on their website. And the client is delighted with the results. Cllr Matthew Binley, executive member for highways, travel and assets said, “I am delighted this crucial facility is now open at East Carlton Countryside Park. Accessible toilets in public spaces means everyone can plan visits and enjoy days out without having to worry about toilet breaks and medical needs”.

You can read more about this Care Capsule™ in this article on the Northamptonshire Telegraph website.

Need to know more about modular Changing Places? Read our informative blog, What are modular Changing Places?.