Portsmouth City Council recently announced that it would be closing down 13 of the 25 public toilets across the city. On the closure hit list is Bransbury Park, Castle Field, Clarkes Road, College Park, Eastney Point, Highland Road, Hilsea Lido, Lower Drayton Lane, Marsden Road, Milton Park, Paradise Street, South Parade Kiosk, and White Hart Road. The toilets are due for closure in April.
Now, a site has been launched featuring a petition against the closures. The site’s homepage says that the shut-downs will result in “whole areas of the city being without a public convenience, which would affect the whole community and would hit the elderly and families with young children particularly hard.”
It goes on to say, “the council claims private businesses will open their toilets to the public, but where is the evidence for this? It hasn’t happened elsewhere where this has been tried. The city’s toilets are used over 2.3m times a year and so a small charge could easily raise more than the £200,000 savings the council hopes to make.”
Running and maintaining the toilets costs PCC £540,000, and according to the petition site, the introduction of a 20p charge for using the toilets would raise £460,000 — not too far shy of breaking even. Of course, the obvious downside to introducing 20p access fees would be a decline in the number of users, defeating the purpose of investing in the charged system in the first place.
The petition has already garnered over 150 digital signatures. We’ve added ours. If you want to add yours, click here.