In common with many local authorities, Bristol City Council prides itself on working to encourage its citizens to improve their well-being by getting out for regular walks.
Despite this, their proposals to save £4.7 million over the next three years includes one to reduce the budget for public toilets. This year’s budget has already been cut to £30,000 and further savings of £400.000 from 2018/19 are being proposed. The net result would be an annual spend of £30,000 on public toilets; equivalent to the Council Tax on twenty Band D properties.
Whilst it may cost the Council a lot for us to be able to spend a penny, there are plenty of reasons why this is potentially money well spent. Various pieces of research have indicated that the closure of public toilets has the potential to: reduce independence; cause embarrassment, indignity and distress; cause particular problems for children, women, disabled people and people with chronic illnesses; contribute to mental health problems; cause problems for mobile workers; reduces opportunities for physical activity; incurs additional costs related to medical and social services; can affect the perception of visitors and tourists; encourages street fouling and unhygienic practices. For more detail on this see this document [PDF 388KB].
BCC currently provides 36 public toilets and urinals. In their ‘Your Neighbourhood’ consultation, their proposals include three options as follows:
- close 18 public toilets, raise awareness of where publicly accessible toilets are and introduce a Business/Community Toilet Scheme; or
- close 17 public toilets and invest £30,000 in keeping one open; or
- close 18 public toilets but provide no alternative provision and save an additional £30,000.
The Council has already made the decision to cut the budget and there isn’t a ‘none of the above’ check box. However, if you don’t like any of the options, you can use the free text box underneath the check boxes and put in ‘none of the above’ then add your own views and ideas.
The consultation closes on Tuesday 5 September so act now if you want to have your say.