Lifting the lid on public toilets

Ypres Castle Toilets
Ypres Castle Toilets

WITH Rother District Council unable to rule out the possible closure of public toilets in towns and villages across the area we examine the possible impact.

The British Toilet Association is campaigning against the closure of public loos and wants to raise awareness of what it could mean for local communities.

Gillian Kemp, from the Association, said: “The lack of public toilets ignores a basic human requirement. When public toilets close down there are many health issues that can arise which affect a large proportion of the population.

“ If we are to embrace the Government’s idea of an all-inclusive Big Society, public toilets are a necessary requirement for our future health.”

A report by the Association concludes that there should be more public toilets not less and that closing them could impact on health and lifestyle.

Gillian Kemp said: “Closing public toilets is not the healthy way forward. Public toilet provision should be the norm - not an afterthought.”

The Association points out that a lack of public conveniences would have a negative effect on older and disabled people and pregnant woman. But they also say it could potentially damage tourism and lead to town’s getting bad reputations and a decline in visitors.

There are currently around 14 million people in the Uk who suffer from urinary or incontinence problems and around 1.2 million older people who say they feel trapped in their own homes.

A lack of public toilets, say the Association, would deter people from getting out and about. It could also lead to health problems with people ‘holding on’ or drinking less, which could put them at risk of dehydration.

There is also the potential risk of an increase in people urinating in public parks and gardens and the associated health risks.

Gillian Kemp said: “Public toilets contribute to sustainability of communities and encourage stay and spend behaviour.

“The are a vital link enabling public transport usage and enable people to participate in community life.

“The reputation of a place can be determined by the state of or lack of its public toilets and local authorities should have proper strategies in place.

“Consultation practices are often inadequate with no alternative to closures offered.

“ Closure Incurs additional medical and social services costs and encourages unhygienic practices.”