Toileting their responsibilities

The Resource for Urban Design Interface, RUDI, reports that the "Government has responded to the findings of a select committee's inquiry into public access to toilets. The report reinforces the importance of good quality public toilet provision and recognises the work already undertaken by many local authorities to improve the situation in their areas",

The full response can be viewed online at: Government Response to the Communities and Local Government Committee Report on the Provision of Public Toilets

My concern with public toilets apart from their provision for those, particularly the elderly, who depend on them are public toilets at Birmingham New Street Station. Currently the toilets are located on the concourse behind manned barriers and are not particularly accessible for people waiting at the station who are not travelling by train. For a busy mainline station you must negotiate to access the toilets or as I found out by contacting the station you can ask for a ticket to access the platforms by which you can access the toilets on the concourse. The lack of publicity of this results in a dash to the nearest toilets at the Pallasades or Bullring if these shopping centres are still open.

The response recommends Network Rail look at it's toilet provision at mainline stations but notes Network Rail is carrying out major refurbishment of toilets at 18 mainline stations in line with DDA requirements. I hope that the redevelopment of New Street Station will see the toilet provision considered, alongside 'stand on the right' signs on escalators, to support the volume of people using the station and the station's role as a meeting place and major transport interchange.

Aside from the toilet's at New Street there has been a decline in the number of public toilets around Birmingham. Where once there had been pride in public toilets we now have new superloo's charging for the privelege of spending a penny and the closure of toilet's such as the Men's toilets on the ramp by the Pallasades shopping centre. The closure and change of toilet facilities is accompanied by the disappointing outcome of the report which Mature Times note - that of the refusal to impose a duty on local authorities to provide public toilets.

The refusal to impose a duty on local authorities to provide public toilets will only hasten the steady decline in service. What is even more frustrating is the refusal to even monitor this decline nationally. It is akin to a child putting its hands over its ears and humming a tune to avoid bad news.


Anonymous said…
Birmingham City Council's pathetic level of provision shows the contempt they have for their residents and visitors surely? How hard can it be to provide a few well maintained and attended toilets around the city centre? Other, smaller councils manage to do this....

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