A new ‘Community Toilet Scheme’ is being launched this week which aims to shift the provision of toilet facilities from traditional, basic, on street facilities and signpost the public to better quality ones.
Under the scheme businesses such as restaurants, bars and shops will work together with the council to provide better toilets for members of the public. Participating businesses will display the scheme’s stickers to show what facilities are available. Members of the public can make use of the facilities during their normal opening hours without any need to make a purchase.
Councillor Russell B Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning said: “As part of our commitment to improving facilities on offer we are working with local businesses in Hereford to increase availability and access to toilets across the city. Ultimately our aim is to provide the widest range of high quality accessible toilets that meet the needs of locals and visitors now and in the future, not only in Hereford, but for other communities across the county as the scheme is extended”.
He went on the say that "I recognise that it is essential to have facilities that are readily available throughout our communities and that they are accessible to everyone. I am determined to promote a scheme that meets the needs of all users especially those with disability and parents who need changing facilities for their children. As part of our drive to make all parts of our city accessible to all I am keen to find a suitable place to accommodate a specialist facility for those who have special needs or experience profound disability. This will compliment facilities that are already available at the swimming pool and those to be provided in the old market development".
Mike Hill owner of The Coffee Cup and one of the first businesses to join the scheme, said: “We are delighted to be amongst the first to be part of this scheme. Many people already use our facilities free of charge but by being part of the new scheme it will help promote our business and if people wish to make a purchase once they are through the door they are more than welcome to do so”.
So far The Grapes Tavern, The Black Lion, The Horse and Groom, The Coffee Cup, KFC and The Courtyard in Hereford have joined the scheme. This concept is already in place and successful in places across the country including Powys and Gloucestershire and brings benefits in terms of customers for retailers whilst improving access to toilets.
The launch of the scheme follows a review last year of public conveniences run by the council that recommended establishing a “Community Toilet Scheme” with local businesses.
The review assessed all toilets operated by the council to determine whether they should remain open, taking into account the need to avoid duplication, reflect local changes in demand and reduce levels of anti-social behaviour. This has resulted in four sites in Hereford being identified to close this week. These are: Union Street, East Street, Merton Meadow, and Maylord Orchards (external facilities).
More information about the scheme is available at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/CTS
Businesses interested in joining the scheme should contact Paul Nicholas at Herefordshire Council by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.