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Innovative community toilet scheme to be trialled in St Albans

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St Albans City and District Council is to trial an innovative venture to provide residents and visitors with more public toilets.

The Community Toilet Scheme will see restaurants, pubs and other businesses open their facilities to the general public. The service will be free of any charge or need to make a purchase.

Street signs and window stickers will be put in place to highlight the establishments that take part in the initiative.

Council staff will make regular inspections to ensure the toilets are kept clean and well-maintained.

Businesses which sign up to the scheme will receive a fee from the Council.

A pilot scheme for the City Centre was approved by the Council’s Public Realm Committee at its meeting on Thursday 15 September.

It will start later this year with a £3,000 budget, run for around 12 months and, if successful, may be rolled out to other parts of the District.

Councillor Allison Wren, the Committee’s Vice-Chair and Lead Councillor for Public Conveniences, said after the meeting:

I am hoping for a good response from our local businesses to the trial.

Not only will they receive an annual fee, but providing community toilets will enhance their reputation as it is a public-spirited thing to do. It will be greatly appreciated by residents and visitors.

The Council recently closed ageing public conveniences at Spicer Street and Verulamium Park because of antisocial incidents and a lack of modern baby-changing and disabled facilities.

Cllr Wren added:

The pilot will partly focus on providing superior community toilets near the closed facilities.

One advantage of having toilets within busy buildings like restaurants or pubs is that there is no opportunity for the sort of antisocial activity that sometimes happens at isolated toilet blocks.

We will only include businesses that can provide facilities for all needs, including less able people, in the pilot.

There will be a cost to our hard-pressed budget for this innovative scheme, but it will be much less than the cost of refurbishing out-of-date facilities or building new ones. We will evaluate the reaction of the public and businesses to the trial before deciding whether to extend the scheme to other areas.

Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727 819533,