Those looking to spend a penny in Richmond are increasingly struggling for places to go.

The council’s once-popular community toilet scheme seems to be getting flushed away, having declined from 69 premises in 2010 offering somewhere to go, both private and council-owned,  to 47 premises today.

Maps on the council’s website still show 54 private premises and nine council premises are in the scheme, so some people also faced a wasted journey.

The scheme was launched in 2005 to replace closed public toilets, with the basis of the scheme being that pubs and cafes would make their toilets available to non-customers for £6,000-a-year.

Critics said the Conservative administration had let the scheme, applauded by representatives from the House of Commons in its heyday, go down the drain.

Councillor Martin Elengorn, opposition spokesman for environment and planning, said: “Sadly since 2010 the Tories have withdrawn staffing and premises leaving the scheme have not been replaced. And they have not even bothered to keep the website information up to date.

“If the Lib Dems regain control the scheme will be relaunched and efforts made to restore numbers of participants to its level of four years ago.”

Richmond Council’s deputy leader Councillor Geoffrey Samuel said the scheme had national recognition.

He said: “It is an enormously successful scheme with national recognition. There will be places that are supportive of it and places that are not.”