Closure of public toilets not in public interest

Closure of public toilets not in public interest

Closure of public toilets not in public interest

First published 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

Comments (1)

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1:43am Tue 31 Dec 13

mdj says...

While Mr Smith is quite correct in principle on the faults of this policy, he seems to have forgotten that he was a Councillor, and a member of the ruling Labour/ Lib Dem coalition, back in 2007 when this policy was agreed. Did he vote against it? Is his memory now so unreliable that he thinks this policy came in only in 2010?

If he looks on You Tube for a film clip entitled 'The Trail of Destruction', which records a guided walk on 24 March 2007 past a long list of public amenities doomed to closure by the Council of which he was a member, he will see an eccentric bearded figure speaking outside the now-demolished loos on Forest Road on this very topic.

I don't recall that then-Cllr Smith saw fit to join local people on that walk in defence of their public services.
Perhaps he was subject to the party Whip, and therefore unable to exercise adult independent choice.
While Mr Smith is quite correct in principle on the faults of this policy, he seems to have forgotten that he was a Councillor, and a member of the ruling Labour/ Lib Dem coalition, back in 2007 when this policy was agreed. Did he vote against it? Is his memory now so unreliable that he thinks this policy came in only in 2010? If he looks on You Tube for a film clip entitled 'The Trail of Destruction', which records a guided walk on 24 March 2007 past a long list of public amenities doomed to closure by the Council of which he was a member, he will see an eccentric bearded figure speaking outside the now-demolished loos on Forest Road on this very topic. I don't recall that then-Cllr Smith saw fit to join local people on that walk in defence of their public services. Perhaps he was subject to the party Whip, and therefore unable to exercise adult independent choice. mdj
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