Conservatives demand consultation over public toilet changes

Conservative councillors are demanding that Bath and North East Somerset Council carries out a public consultation before pressing ahead with plans which would see the number of public toilet cubicles reduced by up to two thirds.

Under plans developed in conjunction with the Council’s contractor Healthmatic, many of the area’s public toilets will be redeveloped with a 20p charge introduced and capacity reduced from 14 urinals and 94 cubicles to only around 30 cubicles in total.

The Liberal Democrat-run authority has come under fire for its lack of consultation over the plans, with warnings that the reduced capacity could result in queues forming at some of the most well-used toilets during peak times, particularly at those in or near parks during the summer months.

Conservative councillors called upon the Council to undertake more consultation during a meeting of the authority’s Liberal Democrat Cabinet last Wednesday. They have also now written to the Council officer in charge of public toilet provision asking that the current plans are paused and that more engagement with the public is carried out.

The planned changes are being made to the toilets which the Council plans to keep open permanently, whilst a further 12 public toilets under threat of closure have won a twelve month stay of execution.

Conservative Shadow Neighbourhoods spokesman, Cllr Geoff Ward, said:

“A lot of people are up in arms about the planned reduction in the number of cubicles and urinals at many of the Council’s public toilets, particular those in busy locations such as parks. Investment to bring public toilets up to a better standard is of course welcomed, but there has been zero consultation over these plans.

“It’s vital that the Council gets these changes right and ensures there is adequate toilet provision at busy locations, as once these changes have been made they will be very difficult to reverse. If the Lib Dems fail to listen to residents’ genuine concerns and then have to perform another 11th-hour U-turn, the Council could have yet another expensive fiasco on its hands.

“We are therefore calling upon B&NES to undertake more public engagement on these plans before ploughing headlong into another debacle.”