Bath & North East Somerset Council is moving ahead with plans to install new coin-in-the slot public toilets across the city – despite a halt being called in the public convenience replacement programme while public opinion was consulted.
New Healthmatic styled cubicle at Monmouth Street
Healthmatic Ltd, the Council’s contractor, has today (Monday October 13) started work to install new toilets at Charlotte Street car park in Bath; it is planned to complete the work in November, before the Christmas Market begins. Temporary toilets will be in place during this time.
The car park will have 4 cubicles, including one disabled. There is also an autoloo at the entrance to the car park which will remain.
At its meeting on September 11, the Council agreed to pause the improvement programme and undertake a review of cubicle capacity and consultation with residents and users at each location.
This has now been done, and initial user surveys give positive feedback on the much better quality and cubicle numbers. User count data collected in the past and the numbers of people using the new toilets to date also shows that the cubicle numbers proposed are sufficient
The Council’s contract with Healthmatic Ltd will provide investment in cleaning and management services for 15 years, and means that 15 public toilets in parks, play areas, green spaces and key transport hubs will remain open and be improved.
Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “It will be good to have these new, modern, clean toilets in place to greet shoppers at what is one of Bath’s busiest car parks. The new toilets that have been completed at Monmouth Street; Odd Down Park & Ride; sandpit play area; Alice Park, and Keynsham Memorial Park are much improved, cleaner and safer to use. Improvements to the remaining toilets will take place over the autumn and winter.
“These types of toilets operate very successfully in other parts of the country – there are over 110 councils all over the UK with Healthmatic toilets, from busy night-time city centres like Glasgow to tourist destinations like the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire and North Somerset, including parks, and seaside locations.”
Cllr Dixon also said that negotiations with local businesses to keep public toilet provision at Larkhall and Weston are going well, and that two new toilets at Newbridge Park and Ride will also open in December.
The new public toilets will have many benefits for local people, including:
• Cubicles will be unisex, one will be disability compliant and will have baby-change facilities – before there was no baby-change facility at all
• The cubicles offer a high standard of cleanliness and safety and are able to handle large numbers of people using them
• They are large enough for a parent with a couple of small children and a pushchair to use together
• High-tech controls means access can be 24 hours / 7 days a week all year and timers can be adjusted remotely to suit local need as well
• Access is by coin entry to a totally private cubicle with its own hand-washing and drying facilities
• The inside is resistant to vandalism and misuse with an easy-clean tiled interior and hard-wearing fittings
• Problems are detected remotely enabling rapid response by Healthmatic’s engineering and maintenance teams
All of the refurbished facilities will be charged at 20p for use, in order to make the contract sustainable over the next 15 years.
In order to deliver the improvements within the budget available the Council closed five public toilets in July (though some of these closures may only be temporary and the Council would still welcome proposals and is happy to work with local businesses or community groups to explore viable solutions):
• Larkhall and High Street, Weston – proposals with local businesses being finalised to run a PC alongside their business.
• Dominion Road, Twerton – we are now preparing for commercial rental or sale of the property.
• Bradford Road, Combe Down – we are now preparing for commercial rental or sale of the property.
• Greenlands Road, Peasedown St John – this will be demolished to make way for extra spaces in the well-used car park.
Alongside this the Council is working with Batheaston Parish Council to look at the future of the public toilets in London Road car park.
The numbers of cubicles provided are based on user counts and are as follows:
1. Royal Victoria Park play area, 8
2. Parade Gardens, 2
3. Memorial Park – Keynsham 2
4. Sydney Gardens, 2
5. Alice Park, 2
6. Henrietta Park, 2
7. Monksdale Road, 2
8. Alexandra Park, 2
9. The Shallows in Saltford, 2
10. Monmouth Street, 4
11. Riverside Coach Park, tbc
12. Charlotte Street Car Park, 4
13. Odd Down Park & Ride, 2
14. Shaftesbury Road 1 (existing auto-loo)
15. Charlotte Street 1 (existing auto-loo)