As bogoff's go, Chester Station's isn't too bad. It's a good size, with more than enough room to manoeuvre a wheelchair alongside the loo. It was clean, apart from the loo paper sheets dropped on top of the sanpro waste disposal , and it didn't smell. There is a full-length mirror and there was plenty of contrast for people with visual problems - a good number of navy-blue grab rails stood out well from the white walls and turquoise door and flooring.
But oh dear, points must be deducted. There was no coat hook, which I always find a major annoyance. Ordinary public loos have hooks but the people that design bogoffs seem to think us crips don't wear coats, or carry handbags. And there was no privacy curtain. I don't think I have ever yet used a disabled toilet that has one, yet they are a very cheap and effective way to spare someone's blushes if the door needs to be opened in an emergency. Chester station's bogoff had one small advantage here in that the disabled toilet is inside the main door for all the public toilets and tucked into a corner, so should help need to be summoned you wouldn't be completely exposed to the gaze of passers by.
Talking of help and emergencies, I noticed immediately that the alarm cord was hanging well over a meter above floor level. Worse, it was wedged behind the loo roll dispenser. Tugging at it carefully failed to dislodge it and I was wary of tugging too hard in case I triggered it. It was impossible to tell if it was just too short or if the cleaners had knotted up the length and wedged it up out of the way of the floor polisher. Either way, I was worried about collapsing on the floor as I would not have been able to signal for assistance.
I was incensed enough that I complained immediately at the customer service desk, explaining that the cord was illegally short and anyone in trouble wouldn't be able to get help. To his credit, the man I spoke to promised to investiage immediately and sort it out. I hope he did.
6.5/10. It would have been 9.5 if the alarm cord had been properly positioned.
Words and pictures by Louise Bolotin