Fears Richmond toilet scheme is being flushed away, leaving people caught short

Old school: Public toilets, remember those?

Old school: Public toilets, remember those?

First published in News Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

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Councillor Martin Elengorn, opposition spokesman for environment and planning, said: “Sadly since 2010 the Tories have withdrawn staffing and premises leaving the scheme have not been replaced.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.”

Comments (6)

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8:32pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Julie Hill says...

This scheme has never worked properly. I have never notices any premises displaying any signage to indicate they are part of a "toilet scheme", whilst taking thousands of Council tax payers money every year! People just don't feel comfortable walking into a café or restaurant just to use the loo.

Only a couple of days ago I almost stepped in a man's urine as he peed up the wall opposite the butchers in Twickenham in the afternoon. It wasn't even a rugby day and he couldn't be bothered to walk across the road to use the pub facilities.

The Council should re-instate the public toilets on Twickenham Riverside, which is now attracting a large increase in the numbers of people.
This scheme has never worked properly. I have never notices any premises displaying any signage to indicate they are part of a "toilet scheme", whilst taking thousands of Council tax payers money every year! People just don't feel comfortable walking into a café or restaurant just to use the loo. Only a couple of days ago I almost stepped in a man's urine as he peed up the wall opposite the butchers in Twickenham in the afternoon. It wasn't even a rugby day and he couldn't be bothered to walk across the road to use the pub facilities. The Council should re-instate the public toilets on Twickenham Riverside, which is now attracting a large increase in the numbers of people. Julie Hill
  • Score: -2

2:03pm Sun 13 Apr 14

ChrisSquire says...

Twickenham Riverside just has the Barmy Arms and the Kentucky fried chicken outlet; the cafe in the jubilee garden is not in the scheme - I would have expected it to be a condition of their tenancy. This would be cheaper than reinstating the public toilets.

http://www.richmond.
gov.uk/
home/services/
community_and_living
/local_maps/
community_toilet_sch
eme_map.htm

The venues are signed and I have never had any difficulty in finding them. Some of them even have finger posts to them (in Richmond).

This scheme was a Tory initiative, at a time when they cared about the comfort and convenience of residents in a way they clearly no longer do. Thank goodness their time is almost up.
Twickenham Riverside just has the Barmy Arms and the Kentucky fried chicken outlet; the cafe in the jubilee garden is not in the scheme - I would have expected it to be a condition of their tenancy. This would be cheaper than reinstating the public toilets. http://www.richmond. gov.uk/ home/services/ community_and_living /local_maps/ community_toilet_sch eme_map.htm The venues are signed and I have never had any difficulty in finding them. Some of them even have finger posts to them (in Richmond). This scheme was a Tory initiative, at a time when they cared about the comfort and convenience of residents in a way they clearly no longer do. Thank goodness their time is almost up. ChrisSquire
  • Score: -15

11:43pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Julie Hill says...

I had a Meeting at the Civic Centre today and visited the ladies. I unfortunately walked in on a lady sitting on the loo as the door lock was completely missing. The lavatory would not flush and the room was dirty.

Is the Council paying itself £600 per year to provide such poor public facilities ?
I had a Meeting at the Civic Centre today and visited the ladies. I unfortunately walked in on a lady sitting on the loo as the door lock was completely missing. The lavatory would not flush and the room was dirty. Is the Council paying itself £600 per year to provide such poor public facilities ? Julie Hill
  • Score: 1

11:12am Wed 16 Apr 14

jeremyhm says...

Mr Squire - on Twickenham Riverside there is a perfectly clear fingerpost pointing to the cafe on Diamond Jubilee Gardens indicating community toilet (there are disabled facilities too).
If the Conservatives' "time is up" as Mr Squire predicts, residents can look forward to the council tax rise that is promised by the LibDems, and even perhaps a pay rise for their Leader (as happened in 2006). What joy!
Mr Squire - on Twickenham Riverside there is a perfectly clear fingerpost pointing to the cafe on Diamond Jubilee Gardens indicating community toilet (there are disabled facilities too). If the Conservatives' "time is up" as Mr Squire predicts, residents can look forward to the council tax rise that is promised by the LibDems, and even perhaps a pay rise for their Leader (as happened in 2006). What joy! jeremyhm
  • Score: 3

1:53pm Wed 16 Apr 14

ChrisSquire says...

I have just written to the Council asking them to resolve this puzzle. Perhaps they will be moved to clean up their act in the Civic Centre while they are on the job.
I have just written to the Council asking them to resolve this puzzle. Perhaps they will be moved to clean up their act in the Civic Centre while they are on the job. ChrisSquire
  • Score: -6

3:44pm Tue 22 Apr 14

ChrisSquire says...

Email from Rita Csonka, Borough Contracts Monitoring Officer: I can confirm that Jubilee Gardens Café is not a member of the scheme. I will have a look at the sign and request it to be removed if not needed.

So, yes, ‘jeremyhm’, this will yet another thing for the incoming team of Riversid Liberal Democrat councillors to sort out, a swell as the bus stops, school places, etc. . .
Email from Rita Csonka, Borough Contracts Monitoring Officer: I can confirm that Jubilee Gardens Café is not a member of the scheme. I will have a look at the sign and request it to be removed if not needed. So, yes, ‘jeremyhm’, this will yet another thing for the incoming team of Riversid Liberal Democrat councillors to sort out, a swell as the bus stops, school places, etc. . . ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

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