Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now Harborough Tories won't let you go the the loo

The big news hereabouts today is that:

Harborough District Council wants to close the toilets attached to the Market Hall, in Northampton Road, as well as four others across the district in a bid to save £50,000 a year in maintenance costs.

The plans were approved by the council's all-Tory executive committee at a meeting on Monday and will go to a meeting of full council for ratification next Thursday, February 25.

So now Harborough Tories won't even let you go to the loo. They are even worse than they were in my days on the district council.

Well done to the Lib Dem councillor Cllr Barbara Johnson for opposing the plans:

"It will hit market traders and customers to the cafe there because the nearest public toilets will be the Commons car park on the other side of Northampton Road.

"Quite a lot of elderly people visit the cafe so it will cause them quite an inconvenience.

"It's a £50,000 saving for the council but it doesn't seem the right way to go if we want to attract more visitors to the town."

And well done to the Harborough Mail in picking up her comments in its headline:

Loo closure would be an inconvenience

If things are really so bad that the council cannot afford to spend a penny they should investigate the Community Toilet Scheme developed by the Liberal Democrats in Richmond. This:
enables local businesses like pubs, restaurants and shops, to work together with the Council to make more clean, safe and accessible toilets available to the public. The Council has recently extended membership of the Community Toilet Scheme with more business members and Council owned sites providing access to the public during opening hours.There are now nearly 100 premises taking part in the scheme.
If you are interested (or desperate) go to the Richmond upon Thames Lib Dems site or a list of all the businesses taking part.

But devising a scheme like that would take initiative and imagination: two qualities that have traditionally been in short supply amongst the local Conservatives.

Later. It has been suggested to me that this scheme, or a similar one, was originally introduced while the Tories were running Richmond. Whatever the truth of that, I think that such schemes are the way forward if councils are finding it hard to provide their own facilities.

One thing is clear: they cannot just wash their hands of the problem. (Do you see what I did there?)


Unknown said...

Mind you, on the facing page, I see we might be getting an Anti-Social Behaviour Tsar, who will "have the power to help close crack dens". If that doesn't occupy all their time I suppose they could have a crackdown on people having a wee round the back of Sainsbury's because they can't find a public lavatory that's open.

Anonymous said...

Sainsburys provides a perfectly adequate toilet facility in that area.

wolfi said...

In Germany we have the same problem generally public toilets are vandalised and/or used by junkies, so our town had he idea of "Nette Toilette" (nice/friendly toilet) where businesses (mostly pubs and cafes) put on this little sign that shows the public can use their facilities without consuming or paying.

The idea behind this is of course that people might realise "This is a nice place" and stay for a pint or a cup of coffee ...

Anonymous said...

Wolfi: if they drop by to use the loo and then decide to stay for tea or beer, they may never leave!

Jonathan: a dip into the LB Richmond archives shows clearly that a Cabinet paper (whether perforated or not is not known) on the CTS was indeed considered in February 2004 , firmly in the days of Tory rule.

wolfi said...

Now I see it!

What I meant was that in many establishments you have to pay for the use of the loo, if you're not a customer.

The funniest I ever saw was Harrod's asking for a pound (or 5o pence, I don't remember) if you wanted to use their "special" lavatory ...

In case you're interested: I didn't ...

Excuse any msiatakes I might have mad, I'm from Germany.

OT: Jonathan, if you're reading this, Eric Clapton will do another Crossroads in Chicago this year, Steve Winwood and a lot of other guitarists will join him.

You haven't published anything relating to music recently, that's why I'm adding thi info here ...

Jonathan Calder said...

DC: Thanks for you assiduousness. I wish our local Tories were so enlightened. This has to be the way forward if the council is that short of money.

Wolfi: I still post a music video here every Sunday. I had what appears to be a comment from Peter Asher on one from last June today.

Wartime Housewife said...

I wasn't even aware that there were any lavatories at the market. I've asked many times, particularly as there's a cafe, and was told there were none and one had to go to Sainsburys.

The loss of public loos is a grave one, particularly in areas where there are homeless people. This is often the only chance they have to wash let alone use a loo, and even if there are any, they're often closed at night. We need more not fewer.

Anonymous said...

There will be a PUBLIC PROTEST MEETING in response to the strong public opposition to the Market Harborough toilet closure.
Everyone welcome SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER in ST MARY'S PLACE outside the MARKET HALL from 10am to 3pm.