A PROPOSED new extension to Malvern Theatres will have the area’s first Changing Places public toilet, a move aimed at increasing accessibility to the arts complex.

Last week, Malvern Hills District Council granted planning permission for the extension, which provides a new rehearsal studio and offices at the complex on Grange Road.

The studio will allow Malvern Theatres to improve and expand its education and community programme.

The project is the first major construction at the theatre since its Lottery-funded transformation 21 years ago, which secured its place as a leading regional venue.

The Changing Places facility, the first in the district, is for people who cannot use standard toilets and who require a height-adjustable changing bench and a hoist.

Chief executive Nic Lloyd said: “We are delighted with this planning decision and are excited for what it means for the future of the theatre.

“Malvern Theatres is the lifeblood of the town and this extension will help ensure that everyone in our community, no matter what age or ability, can engage with the arts in a meaningful way.

“Over a quarter of a million people need Changing Places toilets to enable them to enjoy the everyday activities that many of us take for granted. This facility will not only allow more people to use the theatre with confidence, but visitors can also better experience everything else Malvern has to offer.”

The studio, which will be fully accessible, will allow the theatre to do more and different classes and workshops at different times of day, including evenings.