Mary Portas Cash for Toilets!!

Mary Portas cash for toilets and improving nightime economy

By Victoria Smith
April 02, 2012

Boosting Woodley’s nighttime economy, taking advantage of smartphone technology and replacing public toilets are just some of the ideas that could benefit from town centre funding.

A bid for up to £100,000 to benefit Woodley from the Government’s Portas Pilot Towns scheme is due to be submitted this week.

Wokingham Borough Council has been gathering people’s views in Woodley and Wokingham so it can submit bids for each town with ideas on how the money would be spent to improve the area.

Mary Portas cash could boost Wokingham and Woodley

In Woodley, the Town Centre Management Initiative (TCMI) has been discussing how the money could benefit the nighttime economy, encourage better use of smartphone technology by having web links promoting offers in shops signposted in the town and replacing public toilets.

The town’s public loos were removed as a cost-cutting measure in 2009 and have been replaced with a scheme encouraging businesses to allow non-customers to use their facilities.

Family friendly plans form bid for Mary Portas cash

Councillor Beth Rowland, chairman of Woodley Town Council, said: “There are a huge amount of issues in and around the town centre because of the lack of toilets.

“It creates problems specifically for families with young children and disabled people.”

Conservative councillor Keith Baker said creating a more fruitful nighttime economy in Woodley to mirror the success of Wokingham would give residents more choice.

He said: “If you take Wokingham, you get there at 6pm and there are restaurants and pubs. Woodley has cafes but we don’t have any restaurants and we can see a lot of benefit if we can generate a nighttime economy.”

Cllr Baker said local entrepreneurs could also be given a helping hand with small pop-up stores in Headley Road for seasonal and start-up businesses.

The Government is looking for 12 Portas Pilot Towns to share the £1 million funding to test ideas for creating vibrant town centres that will be successful in the long-term.

To be successful, bids will have to show they have the backing of local residents, traders, businesses and landowners and show they could be used elsewhere in the country.

The bids need to be submitted by Friday.

Barnstaple accessible toilet campaign



CAMPAIGNERS were overwhelmed by public support for a specialist North Devon disabled toilet after they collected over 1,000 signatures in just a few hours.

The campaign group of 12 were on the streets of Barnstaple earlier this month asking people to sign a petition which will be handed into North Devon Council (NDC) next month.

  1. 14654706

    PETITION: Deputy mayor Lesley Brown, William White, Sue Tucker, Patrick Sellick and Jo Fox

The specialist toilet called a Changing Places toilet already has funding to be built but North Devon Council will not provide a site for it.

The funding was allocated nearly five years ago by Devon County Council through its sale of Exeter Airport in 2007.

Funds were made available for three Changing Places toilets across the county; one in Exeter, one in Newton Abbot and a third in North Devon.

Despite Exeter and Newton Abbot having had the facility for some time North Devon is still missing one.

Campaign leader Sue Tucker is hoping to get 2,000 signatures on the petition before handing it into NDC next month.

She said: “So many people use disabled toilets because friends or relatives are disabled and this was shown by how many signatures we got.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support — it was an amazing response.”

Petitions are still available at Pathfinders Learning Centre, Barnstaple, Devon Made in Braunton or by emailing

Women and Toilets event in PARIS

Poster COUPÉ_ Femmes et WC


Exciting event and exhibition happening shortly in Paris and may be coming to London – so watch this space!

Runswick Bay toilets under threat

from the Whitby Gazette

RESIDENTS are starting a campaign to save the public toilets at Runswick Bay after discovering they are being sold off.

They heard inadvertently that a builder was looking at a project to convert the toilet block into part of the adjoining house.

But they claim there are no definite plans for a replacement and if there was it would likely be on the public car park which has recently just had £3 million worth of improvement works.

A petition is being started up and Hinderwell Parish Council is also discussing the possible conversion which they are also opposed to.

Dennis Whiteley, chairman of the Runswick Bay Association, said the go-ahead had been given for the disposal without public consultation.

He told the Gazette: “The officer has given the go-ahead to dispose of them but as yet there are no plans about how and whether they are going to replace them.

“This is not normal process they should be following. Other people in the village would be interested in buying or putting a consortium together and stopping the council selling them off.

“There are all sorts of things but we have not been given the opportunity.”

Mr Whiteley added the loss of the toilets would impact on public enjoyment of the facilities at Runswick Bay.

He said: “As far as this guy is concerned it makes a lot of business sense because it remains a blot on his house and makes for a large extension with a sea view.

“It makes business sense for the council, is it a fund-raising exercise?

“But they are just brilliant for the kids. All the local kids play just below the cafe where they can get ice-cream – the sand is beautiful and clean, the toilets are 20 yards away and people can keep an eye on the little children.

“But the replacement they are proposing , if they do, will be totally out of sight and across a busy launching road – it would be nothing like the level of facility that we have got now.”

A spokeswoman for Scarborough Borough Council said the toilets are being sold under a ‘special purchaser’ provision and had been to the authority’s Cabinet in 2009.

They added that ward and parish councillors had been consulted at the time and the provision of new toilets on the outskirts of Runswick Bay were part of the proposal pending planning permission from the North York Moors National Park Authority.

Littlemoor campaign succeeds!!

WEYMOUTH: Littlemoor toilet debate goes back to full council


RESIDENTS celebrated after councillors agreed that a petition to get public toilets re-opened at Littlemoor should be thoroughly debated at a full meeting of Weymouth and Portland council.

Many residents were outraged at the way their 1,650-signature petition was handled by the council.

They claimed it hadn’t been properly considered and they urged a rethink of management committee’s January 3rd decision to leave the toilets shut.

Littlemoor resident Terry Butcher spoke at a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee and asked members to support the issue being properly debated by full council.

He added that the petition showed the strength of feeling to get the toilets reopened because “people would like to have proper toilets not takeaway toilets”.

He was supported by Michael Wheller who strongly urged councillors to “think again” and agree full council should debate the matter.

Councillor Kate Wheller said the council needed to “sharpen ourselves up” while Councillor Richard Kosior wanted to know not just if the council could afford to reopen the toilets but whether it could also afford to keep them open in the face of vandalism which had contributed to their closure.

He added: “I would like to see the toilets open but we live in a society with vandalism.”

Councillor Gill Taylor said there was clearly no way forward without finance while chairman Councillor Simon Bowkett said members might feel that the way things had been handled fulfilled the letter of policy but not perhaps the spirit of the petition scheme.

He said residents deserved the issue being fully debated in full council because his concern was that residents felt they had not had a fair hearing.

The meeting then agreed that there should be a debate on the issue by full council with all associated papers available to ensure an informed debate.

A delighted Mr Butcher said after the meeting: “I am very pleased. This is just what the people of Littlemoor wanted.”

Toilet devolution in Cornwall

From the Western Morning News

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Town and parish councils in Cornwall are being asked to consider running their public toilets in a bid to save the facilities.

Cornwall Council has begun a consultation after a £100 million cut in central government funding in 2010 forced the authority to review its non statutory services.

 Cornwall Council

The authority allocated an extra £1 million to continue funding public toilets until autumn, but after that a different solution is being sought for many of the 24/7 facilities across the Duchy.

Town and parish councils are being asked to consider what contributions they can make to the conveniences, with other options such as using toilets owned by businesses also being examined.

Steve Double, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for waste management, said the council “recognised that the provision of toilets is important to communities in Cornwall and want to do what we can to minimise the impact of this reduced budget”.

Councillor Julian German, portfolio holder for localism, sustainability and devolution, added: “While this time for dialogue and reaching mutually agreeable ways forward is to be welcomed, it has to be recognised that the public conveniences budget is to be significantly reduced.

“Therefore it is important that we agree options with parish and town councils by the autumn.”

But Andrew Wallis, the Independent councillor for Porthleven, said the burden of running and funding the facilities should not be “foisted” upon them. “The starting point is to actively and constructively talk to all of the town and parish councils and get a clear picture,” he said.

“I don’t think any of the toilets should be foisted on them by just being told ‘take it on or we’ll shut it down’ – there should be support given.”

There are two public toilets in Porthleven, one of which is earmarked for closure unless its running is transferred. Mr Wallis said losing one would hamper their tourism credentials.

Mullion Parish Council has agreed to pilot a scheme in which it takes on the running of its four toilets.

Its chairman John Lang said: “Somebody has to do it, we were surprised to find the council has no statutory obligation to provide public toilets given the number of visitors we have to the area.

“No decisions have yet been taken, and this pilot project is initially to identify what the parish council’s preference is and finding a way to fulfil these aspirations within the revised funding element identified for Mullion.”

Last November Cornwall Council postponed plans to cut funding for 114 toilets after a public outcry, with opponents claiming it would amount to “civic vandalism”.



Tollesbury toilets reopen due to rise in visitor numbers

TOLLESBURY’S public toilets will reopen a year after the council shut them down.

The facilities were closed after Maldon District Council decided it could not afford the annual running costs of £3,000.

  1. The public toilets in Tollesbury are to re-open a year after they were closed after Cllr Robert Long battled to change the decision. woodrolfe road,Tollesbury, Maldon, Essex CM9 8SB

    The public toilets in Tollesbury are to re-open a year after they were closed after Cllr Robert Long battled to change the decision. woodrolfe road,Tollesbury, Maldon, Essex CM9 8S

But following a long battle and a rising number of tourists, after the village featured in the BBC drama Great Expectations broadcast over Christmas, the toilets are to be open to the public as “soon as possible”.

“It’s been a long battle but we’re incredibly pleased,” said chairman of Maldon District Council Councillor Robert Long.

“I’ve been fighting for the toilets to be reopened ever since they were closed around a year ago.

“The decision to close the toilets was originally a cost-cutting measure but then the district council was told Tollesbury parish council wanted the toilets to remain closed – but that wasn’t the case at all.”

A community toilet scheme was trialled instead, in which local pubs and shops were encouraged to allow visitors to the area to use their facilities.

“That scheme just wasn’t really viable,” said Mr Long.

“After Maldon and Burnham, Tollesbury is the most popular tourist destination in the district and so obviously really needs these facilities.”

“It’s great news,” said Tollesbury’s district councillor Russell Porter.

“The decision is to reopen them as soon as possible and then a full refurbishment will commence later in the year.

“There’s still a number of things to sort out but as soon as that’s done the facilities will be fully open, which is what we wanted.

“Opening the toilets is the sensible option because the Radio Times published an article about a walk in Tollesbury based on Great Expectations being filmed here.

“It’s brought so many extra people to the area that the toilets are a must.

“We can’t have an increase in tourism and not provide the adequate services.”

Residents from Tollesbury were outraged at the closure last year and claimed people defecated on the land outside the toilets.

Angela Nixon, who lives on Woodrolfe Road, said: “The decision to reopen them has meant that the council has acknowledged there was human fouling on the land which just was not acceptable.

“I am jubilant about the decision but the district council wants the parish council to take on the running and cleaning, which I’m unsure about.

“I still think there are a number of issues that need to be ironed out – but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”

SOUTHWOLD public toilets closed until Easter for a £15,000 revamp.


The two-week scheme to improve on the block at Kilcock Cliff – seen as vital to the town’s tourism trade – will see its ladies toilets refurbished, its leaking roof repaired and the fabric of the building enhanced.

Work was getting under way this week with a view the blocks reopening in time for the holiday season. The second part of the renovation, involving a £10,000 modernisation the men’s toilets, will take place next year.

Southwold Town Council has funded the project using money taken from the profits of the town’s putting green.

The mayor of Southwold, John Windell, welcome dthe work. He said: “Whenever you go on holiday you always judge the place by its toilets. “We need to move Southwold into the 21st century because people’s expectations are greater than they used to be and we all want better services in the area.”

In the past, the toilets were owned by Waveney District Council. However, there was anger when it earmarked them for closure in 2009. Since then, the town council has run them, deeming them a necessity for the holiday trade.

Mr Windell said using the putting green income was seen as the best funding option. He added: “Its difficult to justify precepting the town for the toilets. It just is not right to charge the public for something they don’t really use. That is why we took the decision to use the profits from the putting green which were made from tourists.”


Latest News

Welsh Assembly says YES need toilets but NO wont make it statutory

Public toilet campaign supported by Welsh assembly members

By David DulinBBC News Wales

A campaign for public toilets in Wales to be kept open has been backed by Welsh assembly members.

The Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC) has endorsed the view there is a public health case for better public toilet provision.

But the Welsh government said provision was a matter for councils and there was no plan to make it a statutory duty.

A petition asking for the implications of toilet closures to be investigated was delivered to the assembly in 2010.

In the same year, a councillor cycled the length of Wales to raise awareness about a lack of public toilets.

Llais Gwynedd councillor Louise Hughes rode 153 miles (246km) from Gwynedd to Cardiff to meet AMs to ask for an improvement.

She said she was pleased with the HSCC’s report.

“All the hard work that not only myself and other people have put in has paid off,” she said.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

If a person doesn’t feel confident in leaving their home without knowing where there is adequate toilet provision, it can leave them alone and isolated”

Mark DrakefordHealth and Social Care Committee chair

“My ultimate goal is that it becomes a statutory provision that local authorities have to provide public toilets.”

Businesses in many parts of Wales are filling the gaps as the number of public toilets falls

The British Toilet Association said the number had fallen about 40% in a decade.

The HSCC’s report came in response to the petition that was submitted.

It says potential solutions exist which “merit further investigation by those more expert in local government matters”.

Mark Drakeford, chair of the HSCC said: “Lack of public toilet provision does not just affect older people.

“It can be an issue for those with disabilities, with bladder and bowel conditions or those with young children.

“If a person doesn’t feel confident in leaving their home without knowing where there is adequate toilet provision, it can leave them alone and isolated, and can impact on both their physical and mental health.”

Alarming rate

A Welsh charity, which published its own report in 2009, welcomed the HSCC’s report.

Age Cymru’s campaigns coordinator Rhea Stevens said: “Public toilets are a lifeline for older people, providing them with freedom, independence and the confidence they need to lead fulfilling and active lives.

“Yet despite this, public toilets are disappearing from our communities at an alarming rate and assertive action is needed to halt this decline.”

She added: “The National Assembly for Wales should now take action on the report’s recommendations, and further investigate solutions to address the decline of public toilets.”

The Welsh government said the provision and maintenance of toilet facilities was a matter for councils, taking account of local needs and priorities.

Public access

“We have no plans to make this a statutory duty,” said a spokeswoman.‬

“In 2010-11 we provided local authorities with funding totalling £107,000 to facilitate greater public access to toilets through the Public Facilities Grant Scheme.

“Some 217 businesses across Wales are participating in this scheme, which reimburses local authorities to a maximum of £17,500 per local authority per year for payments of up to £500 made to local businesses for allowing free public access to their toilet facilities.”

About our very own Professor Clara Greed

from Link Magazine Swindon

Making public toilets a bigger concern for all

29th February 2012 by Roger Ogle

professor clara greedThey are of interest to everybody, particularly when you’re caught short, but policy makers and planners don’t think about them too much.

But on 26 March Dr Clara Greed, Emeritus Professor of inclusive urban planning at the University of the West of England Bristol, right, has been invited to talk at the Swindon Equality Coalition about the unequal and inadequate provision of public toilets, and how they are a low priority for high-level policy makers.

Dr Greed was originally a town planner but got involved in the ‘social aspects of planning.’ She has undertaken a range of research on questions of equality, diversity,  gender, and accessibility, but has concentrated on one key issue in recent years, namely public toilet provision, as ‘all human life is there.’

From a gender perspective inadequate and unequal toilet provision for women in the workplace, and in places of entertainment, sport and retail activity, all contribute to long queues, reduced productivity and poor health amongst women. Unequal toilet provision for women is one of the last frontiers to be conquered.

From a disability perspective inaccessible, inadequate and limited levels of provision for those with disabilities, reduces the chances of people getting out and about, working, travelling and living their lives.

From an environmental perspective, public toilets are the missing link in terms of creating sustainable cities, as if the government wants people to get out of their cars and back on to public transport, then accessible, decent public toilets are needed at all transport hubs and locally for all those walking and cycling.

Dr Greed’s will be talking at the Swindon Equality Coalition on Monday 26 March, 5pm to 7pm in Park South Community Centre, Cranmore Avenue, Swindon SN3 2ES.

For more information call 01792 466515 or mail: