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Closure of public toilets not in public interest
9:20am Monday 30th December 2013 in Your Views
The LBWF Labour led Council policy, in 2010, to close all old style brick and mortar public toilets, in favour of the almost invisible, Community Toilet alternative plan,was done in the face of a massive groans and demonstrations and consultation `initiative petitions', from residents and small retail outlets in the High Street, where all vented clear opposition .
As we enter a New Year, without a solution to a paucity of public toilets or local knowledge, as to where individuals can `spend a penny' for too many persons of all ages, searching for an answer : and for many elderly residents or parents out with small children or to change the baby : it is a daily nightmare.
Until March 2013,the 40 web listed, enrolled community toilet premises, included 10 pubs and 13 LBWF sites and a substantial listing of libraries,parks and cemeteries,with several toilets that cannot to be accessed at weekends and public holidays.
A large number of local residents, who do not choose to visit pubs or go inside pubs to use a toilet or cannot find their location easily, are all ignored by the current community toilet policy.
In Higham Hill, for example, there is only one community toilet listed,at Higham Hill Library, that has to serve the entire local community : and is not easy to find for visitors.
When the Council brought in the community toilet plan in 2010, it suggested that there would be plenty of take-up of the carrot of £800-£1000 that was dangled to the new members.
The subsequent evidence is that at frequent times during the week, there are are only 17 authorised community scheme toilets, open for public use,during the day, to serve the entire Borough population.
A new evaluation of the public toilet requirements of local residents and visitors is well overdue, in the light of new reports of the growing prospect of more people using the streets,especially on Saturday nights, as a public toilet.
The closure of Chingford Mount public toilet with up to 10,000 public toilet petitioners in Chingford Mount, has now resulted in residents reporting to the police that the neighbourhood is beset with men using alleyways, as a public urinal, since the closure of their public convenience to save £90,000.
It is time for the passage of new public `initiative' law that compels a Local Council to act more responsibly as this `democratic deficit' ought to reflect trust between Council and residents and has yet to be bridged.
Surely, when the resident evidence from our local public consultations, can be ignored with such impunity, on an issue as relevant to daily life, as the closures of all public toilets ,something has to be done?
Patrick C Smith, Higham Hill, Liberal Democrat Focus
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