A public inconvenience

By Binzy Reynolds:

 

We all need toilets. When you need to go, you need to go. At home or in an office, it isn’t usually a problem. However, are you sure there’s somewhere to go when the need arises if you are out and about? Across the UK, over a third of public toilets have closed over the last two decades.

In the Bude area there are only three public toilets: the Crescent Car Park, the western end of Summerleaze Car Park and Crooklets Car Park. Two public toilets have closed in recent years, one at the eastern end of Summerleaze car park and one in old Stratton, opposite the King’s Arms. Usuaally at least one toilet near An Mor is also open.

It is bad enough for able bodied people who need to find a toilet in an emergency, but if you are disabled it can be much worse. Luckily, all our public toilets in Bude are disabled friendly.

During my research for this article I contacted gbtoiletmap@gmail.com and received an extremely informative reply from Gail, whose grandfather grew up in Crackington and went to school in Bude. As yet I have received no reply from B&STC to my enquiry concerning disabled access. Perhaps they thought my email was a joke…

Anyone can update information on the Great British Public Toilet Map, so please feel free. It can only help others.

Use Our Loos, (UOL) is the first national community toilet scheme designed to make more toilets public, unlocking toilets which remain hidden in high street cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and bars, opening them up to the community.

As more public toilets close, UOL ask that more toilets are made available for public use. They invite businesses to sign up and welcome everyone, customers and non-customers alike, to use their toilets. In return, UOL provide them with free Domestos product, directing people to their venues, so they may benefit from increased footfall and a stronger connection to their community.

UOL invite the public to use their map to discover toilets nearby and to help improve the service by adding new locations or flagging toilets that have closed.

To register your business for the Use Our Loos campaign please contact useourloos@gmail.com
UOL is proudly sponsored by Domestos, with the support of the British Toilet Association, (www.btaloos.co.uk) and the Great British Public Toilet Map, (www.toiletmap.org.uk).

The Great British Public Toilet Map is the UK’s largest database of publicly-accessible toilets, with over 11000 facilities.

It is run by Public Convenience, a joint venture between researchers Dr Jo-Anne Bichard and Gail Ramster (who created the map at the RCA Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design) and software development company Neontribe (who designed and built it).

Thinking about adding a toilet?

A publicly-accessible toilet means any toilet that the public are allowed to access without needing to be a customer.

Public toilets
• Council-run toilets and other public toilet blocks
• Toilets in train stations, bus stations, service/petrol stations, tube stations, ferry terminals, airports and other transport networks
• Toilets in large shopping centres

Other publicly-accessible toilets
• Toilets in public buildings, such as town halls, libraries, hospitals, museums and leisure centres
• Toilets in other businesses where the business agrees that the public can use their toilets without having to buy anything. These are often part of Community Toilet Schemes (run by councils) and can include shops, cafes, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and pubs

UOL tries not to show toilets where you need to ask permission to use it, such as those that are for customers-only. The exception is platform-side toilets at stations. These are only accessible to ticket-holders but it is useful information to include.

Anyone can go on the website and add, edit or remove toilets. They also use open data including from the OpenStreetMap project and request information from councils, private companies and organisations.

If you have any problems updating the toilets, or wish to send toilet details or comments, please contact gbtoiletmap@gmail.com.

6 Comments

  • Kath Brabbins says:

    Good article Binzy.
    Living in Stratton near that locked up toilet block,a friend and I were horrified and saddened to see an old chap pulling a suitcase as fast as his old legs would carry him. He made it to the toilets, but finished up having to relieve himself in full public view on the grass by the wall. And he’s the one we know about. There’s also been a rat problem this year on that particular bit of council property too. Saw one running round the corner between Crawford Cottages and Bridge Street the other day. Time the council dealt with the issue properly…locals are being vigilant with their rubbish now too.

  • binzy.bikergoth says:

    Thank you for your comment, Kath. The public toilets in Stratton were closed by Cornwall Council to save money in late 2013. It is sad with all the money taken by the car parks in this area, a little cannot be ploughed back into providing local services.

    The rubbish problem has thankfully been contained by the use of seagull-proof bags but the rats, I suspect, may be more of a problem. Would any of our local councillors care to comment on either issue?

  • binzy.bikergoth says:

    A big thank you to B&STC who have eventually replied to my email.

    Their reply confirms all our public toilets have disabled toilets attached separately with baby changing facilities included. They have also promised to show this information on their website.

    • Robert Willingham says:

      Hi Binzy, BSTC are also in the process of carrying out a feasibility study to buy the Poughill and Stratton Toilets from Cornwall Council and see if we can open them again. Any input you wish to give would be good, Cheers Mayor Bob

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