Visitors to Blandford Road and Jubilee Road/Ashley Road won’t need to worry about getting caught short thanks to a new scheme to improve access to toilets in the area.
The Community Toilet Scheme allows anyone to use the loos in scheme members’ premises whether they are a paying customer or not.
Businesses signing up to the scheme will display the ‘use our loo’ sticker in their window to show which facilities are available.
So far, in Blandford Road: Hamworthy Library, the Red Lion and The Adams Practice have joined up. In Ashley Road: Rosina’s café, Waitrose, Oswald Bailey and Victoria Cross have joined the scheme.
Participating businesses receive a fee from the council to cover their costs and will feature on the Borough’s website.
The council is looking at different ways to provide access to clean, safe toilets that provide good value for money. There are 30 public toilets in Poole and the cost of running these is rising as the buildings age, making refurbishment works increasingly urgent.
Many of the buildings, including those in Blandford Road and Jubilee Road, are ageing and in poor condition. The cost of carrying out refurbishment works to all toilets over the next 10 years has been estimated at £1.3 million.
The savings made through the Community Toilet Scheme will be spent on much needed improvements to public toilets throughout the town.
Cllr Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, Borough of Poole, said: “We understand that public toilet facilities are important to residents and visitors. The Community Toilet Scheme is a way in which we can continue to make clean, safe and accessible toilets available to all people without increasing the burden on council taxpayers and still afford the ever growing costs in the future.”
The first Community Toilet Scheme started in 2003 in Richmond upon Thames. Since then many other councils in England have taken up the idea. Poole launched its first Community Toilet Scheme in Broadstone on 1 August 2013, followed by Canford Heath on 16 September 2013.
The Community Toilets are available during normal business hours, so the opening hours are longer than in public toilets. People with a disability will find much better choice with the Community Toilets as several scheme members offer accessible facilities. There will also be more baby changing, including some unisex facilities that can be used by mums or dads.
The public toilets in Blandford Road and Jubilee Road will close on Monday 31 March 2014.
Councillor Mike White, Ward Member for Hamworthy East, Borough of Poole, said: “By working in partnership with local businesses the council is able to offer a much better standard of facilities than in traditional public toilets. So it’s a win-win for both businesses and local residents.”
Councillor Charmaine Parkinson, Ward Member for Hamworthy East, Borough of Poole, said: “I think the community toilet scheme will offer a better and much more pleasant choice of facilities for residents with an increased spread of facilities and will enable improvements to the rest of our ageing public toilet buildings which are much needed. I acknowledge that such changes can be difficult for residents but I trust, in time, that people will see the benefits of this decision.”
Councillor Marion Le Poidevin, Ward Member for Branksome West, Borough of Poole, said: “The toilets in Jubilee Road car park are not at all pleasant so the ones in commercial premises will be a great improvement. It’s good that traders are willing to open their facilities to everyone. No-one need feel embarrassed at using the toilets when they are not customers. This is very good news for the area.”
Businesses interested in finding out more about the benefits of joining the scheme can contact Borough of Poole’s Environmental Development team on 01202 261705.