Open Letter To Cineworld Cinemas

Open Letter To Cineworld Cinemas

If you follow my blog you'll probably remember that, along with other parents, I have been liaising with Cineworld to request they provide a changing places style toilet in their cinemas, primarily their new cinema which will soon be built in Burgess Hill.  You can read more about this here: Cineworld Ignore The Equality Act 2010and here Whats not reasonable about having a toilet foreveryone

I've also discussed this on Channel 4 News which you can watch below (from 3.48)  

This week Cineworld sent me this letter, and whilst I have responded to them by email, I felt it important to also write an open letter to ensure there is no misunderstanding in what I am officially requesting they do, bearing in mind their obligations under Equality Act 2010.  The link to this letter has been emailed to Ed Thompson at Cineworld today.

Dear Ed Thompson & the board of directors at Cineworld Cinemas,

Following our recent communications regarding your toilet facilities in your cinema's I am writing, again, to formally request a reasonable adjustment under Equality Act 2010.

The Equality Act 2010 (which can be found here) requires that:

When a provision, criterion or practice puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled, the service provider must take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.Where a physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled, the service provider should take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.Where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxiliary aid, be put at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, the service provider should take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to provide the auxiliary aid.

As I have stated in my previous communications to you, my son William (and over 250,000 other people in the UK) is being put at a substantial disadvantage within your cinemas as he requires a hoist and an adult sized changing bench in order to be able to use the toilet. These aids would fall under point 3 above.  

The reasonable adjustment William requires in order to use your service is, at minimum, those two aids to be provided within a disabled toilet which also allows enough space for them to be used safely (also referred to as a changing places toilet).

Without this adjustment, my son is being put at a disadvantage in comparison with other people who are not disabled as you are providing them with a toilet facility they can use whilst visiting your cinemas.  Without a toilet, William is unable to visit your cinema at all as the length of time required to watch a film would require his continence needs be met.

You have stated in previous communications that changing places toilets are not required under building regulations or British Standards and therefore you will not provide them. Changing places are, in fact, required underBritish Standard 8300:2009.  A cinema would fall under the category of leisure facilities.  However, if you read the guidance you will note the suggested venues requiring a changing places facility is not a comprehensive list, it is simply examples of venues,  The standard states that changing places should be provided in larger buildings and complexes.  I'm sure you would agree your cinemas are large buildings.

It is important that Cineworld understands that by simply meeting building regulations, which does not currently require changing places toilets, you are not necessarily meeting your obligations under the Equality Act 2010, legislation you are obligated to comply with.

It is also important that Cineworld understands the duty under this act is ‘anticipatory’. This means an organisation cannot wait until a disabled person wants to use its services, but must think in advance (and on an ongoing basis) about what disabled people with a range of impairments might reasonably need.  You have been asked / told on numerous occasions and by numerous different people, that in order to use your services, we require a changing places toilet.

So, bearing in mind the above information I am, again, making a formal request under Equality Act 2010 for a reasonable adjustment to be made at your Burgess Hill Cineworld (which is as yet un-built).  The reasonable adjustment my son requires is a hoist and adult sized changing bench to be provided within a disabled toilet (changing places toilet).

This could be seen as a reasonable request as the site is currently not built and therefore isn't open to the public at present.  To provide this facility would not cause any disruption to the building or to your customers.  

You have been provided with sketches of where/how this facility could be provided within the building without losing any important retail space or encroaching on other areas, no adjustments to the screen areas would be required.  Assistance with fundraising has also been offered, although it would be inappropriate considering Cineworlds profits. 

I hope that, at Cineworld, you will stand by the statement on your website "we are committed to offering maximum accessibility and we strive to provide facilities that meet the requirements of all our customers"by ensuring you are meeting your obligations under Equality Act 2010 and providing the reasonable adjustment we have requested. 

Laura Moore

For & on behalf of William Moore, aged 8.

 I think this picture says it all really!

What do you think? Does this affect you?  Please leave a comment below so that Cineworld can read how this decision will affect you or your loved ones.

UPDATE:

I have received a response to this blog and my email to Cineworld, you can read it below.

Still no reasons as to WHY they will not be making this reasonable adjustment, or WHY they don't consider it to be reasonable.  Still no consideration for the law.

Crawley News 24 went to them and the UK Cinema Association for a comment about this – you can read their response here, but be warned you might need a stiff drink afterwards! 

I am so upset that Cineworld STILL don't realise that by their 'position remaining unchanged' it means that the position of 250,000+ other people also remains unchanged as they can still only choose between the toilet floor, sitting in their own mess or staying away from the cinema completely.  

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