Today I’m writing about one of my favourite subjects, toilets! Not the ones at home, but public toilets this time. Jane had an email from someone at the council asking if she could find out what people think about public toilets in Cleveleys and the coastal area in general.
The question from the council and all of your thoughts can be found at this link. If you want to comment please also add yours on that page and then they are all kept together for the council to read the responses. There are quite a few of your comments on that page, which make interesting reading.
What do you think to public toilets?
They asked whether they’re clean, plentiful, and all the other things that they would like to know about them. I suppose it’s a kind of survey so Jane decided I would be the perfect person to get an opinion from. I’m always saying there aren’t enough of them. I have written many times about public toilets and what I think to them, as anyone who reads my blogs will know, so here goes.
Toilets are the one thing that all people have to use, unless you know something I don’t. If you do, let me know as it would come in very useful! Anyway, it never fails to amaze me that public toilets have been closed all over England. Especially destination places like my home town of Cleveleys.
If you’ve travelled a fair distance it’s more than likely that the first thing you do when you get there is to want to spend a penny. We certainly do anyway.
Where have all the toilets gone?
You hear with disbelief the reports of more and more public conveniences being closed, how mad is that. Everyone, as I’ve always said, needs a toilet at some time while they’re out, especially the people who have bladder or bowel problems and the disabled, just to name a few people from different angles.
To go somewhere and find you can’t spend a penny, oh sorry it’s 20p where I live, isn’t funny. Children notoriously want to go at the most inconvenient time don’t they, so to not to be able to find a toilet isn’t funny. All the toilets in our area have been taken over by Danfo who look after them for the sum of 20p a go. It sounds a bit like slot machines doesn’t it.
In Blackpool especially, a lot of the older public toilets were removed, leaving the public wondering where on earth they were supposed to go to find one.
What I think to Public Toilets
Danfo are OK, but just trying to open and close the door means you have to have had some of Popeye’s spinach, as they are so hard to use. I’m only small, slightly built and arthritic, so coming out of one I have to lean against the door and push as hard as I can to get out of the blooming thing.
Don’t start me on about the unisex toilets, I can’t stand them. I used one the other day which wasn’t just for men but for mixed sexes and boy did it stink. I won’t say smelled because it was disgusting, a pure smell of urine.
And what’s with all the floors being wet through all the time? You could do with wellies on when you go in or your trouser hems sashay through the wetness. Why on earth did someone think a woman would want to use a toilet with a wet seat and floor after a man had been in there, it’s beyond me.
I think for me, the cleanliness of them is my biggest bugbear.
Anyway, back to my hometown. There used to be public toilets down the little alley at the left of the Natwest where the traffic lights are at the main road/tram intersection and were often used. OK they weren’t looked after either, but when you have just come on a two hour journey as we did before we came here to live here, anything was better than nothing, so we often used them.
When the people responsible for closing toilets down everywhere shut that one down, it now means a long walk through Cleveleys to find somewhere to ‘go’. For example, I was up at the top end of Cleveleys and decided I wanted to spend 20p, so I set off and went to the nearest toilets which were behind Tesco. By the time I got there, I had nearly forgotten what I had gone for, it took me so long. So what on earth happens when you are really, really desperate. Apart from not finding it a funny situation, the mind boggles!
It doesn’t make sense that when Danfo took over they didn’t use the existing sewers and plumbing. They could have installed new cubicles instead of closing public toilets down altogether.
The council also asked if people would like to be able to use the customer toilets in shops and cafes. Well I think it’s a good idea.
I can understand that cafes would prefer to keep their toilets for the use of their paying customers. But there is a much bigger picture at stake.
If people think that a place is comfortable to visit and has plenty of all kinds of facilities (like parking, entertainment, toilets, friendly people etc) all of those things combine to make it a popular destination. That means it’s a place where people will prefer to visit, and they’ll come back again and again.
Plus which if people first pop into a business just to use a loo, it gets them over the doorstep for the first time. If they like what they see there’s every chance that they will come back again as a paying customer. Then of course there’s the goodwill. I’m not the only one who knows where all of the public toilets are. To a lot of people they are vital in planning any trip. The pure goodwill of the toilets being available to use is a good publicity tool in itself. So far from creating a problem it could actually be a big opportunity.
Wasn’t there talk of business rates being cut for shops who made their customer toilets available to the public? And of course the other thing that they could do is charge 20p to use them. That way it would be a level playing field. And there’s no incentive for cheap-skates to try and get a free wee!
Imagine if we could make Cleveleys a toilet friendly town. Some may laugh (and probably will do) but it’s true!
This is just but a small fraction of what I think about toilets. But to sum it all up, the country as a whole needs to introduce more and more toilets everywhere, not get rid of them. People will always need them and it beggars belief that they are continually closed down to save money for local councils.
That is the one thing that should be kept not got rid of, don’t you think. I don’t mind paying 20p but I have heard some mention of charging a lot more, which is not right in my opinion. Using a toilet is a necessity and to be charged more and more isn’t right. Especially when they are so far apart and often not even clean. Bring back more toilets not less, and make them cleaner.
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