Newham launches new community toilet scheme to improve access

5 May 2017 in Business and Community neighbourhoods
Newham Council has approved proposals to change the way it provides public toilets, increasing the number of facilities available across the borough and also saving money.
Through the Community Toilet Scheme, businesses like cafes, shops and pubs, will be invited to sign up to the initiative agreeing to open up their toilets for members of the public to use. Council premises including libraries and community centres will also join the scheme.

Businesses signed up will prominently display signs welcoming people to use their toilets. In return, they will be paid a grant to keep the toilets clean and well stocked. The council will introduce regular inspections, and ensure there are adequate disabled and baby-change facilities in each area. It is expected that under the new scheme up to 40 new amenities will be made available across the borough.

The scheme will replace four existing toilet blocks which are coming to the end of their contracts. The six public toilets provided in Newham’s parks are unaffected by the changes, and will remain in place. Following a month long public consultation on the proposals, the council has also decided to retain the facilities at Hamara Ghar/Green Street which serve Queen’s Market and will be managed by the Market Service.

In the consultation, 75 per cent of respondents thought the Community Toilet Scheme was a good idea, while 81 per cent stated that they never use the existing public loos.

The changes are expected to save the council up to £96,400 per year, while improving the quality and availability of toilets across the borough. None of the existing facilities will close until the Community Toilet Scheme is up and running in their area.

Mayoral Adviser for the Environment, Councillor Pat Murphy, said: “This is a smart solution which will deliver good, safe, and easily accessible toilets that residents need throughout the whole of Newham.

“People, who are currently reluctant to use facilities belonging to businesses, will be clearly sign-posted to those that welcome them. For the businesses it is a great opportunity to attract extra potential customers through the door.

“The idea of the Community Toilet Scheme has already proved a great success in other London boroughs. In Richmond it was so popular with businesses that the scheme was over-subscribed. We will now be working closely with the local business community to encourage them to join up.”