New look loos

B&NES has released a ‘progress report’ on what they call the ‘improvement works’ at the Monmouth Street (Seven Dials) public toilets which they say are going very well and the re-opening is on course for later this month as part of the Council’s £3.3 million contract to improve public conveniences across the area.

Installed originally with great civic pride by the Victorians seems our traditional public conveniences just aren’t sustainable anymore.

Interior of a typical Healthmatic loo
Interior of a typical Healthmatic loo

The Council’s lease to Healthmatic Ltd will also provide comprehensive cleaning and management services for fifteen years.

It means that 15 public toilets in parks, play areas, green spaces and key transport hubs will remain open but you will have to pay to use them.

B&NES says the new cubicles being installed by Healthmatic combine a number of improvement features:

· A high standard of cleanliness and safety – able to handle large numbers of people using them
· High-tech controls means access is 24hours / 7 days a week all year or timers can be adjusted remotely to suit local needs
· Access by coin entry to a private cubicle with its own hand-washing and drying facilities (as for the existing auto-loos in Bath and North East Somerset)
· They are built into the existing toilet buildings, disability compliant with sharps boxes, plus baby-change facilities
· The inside is resistant to vandalism and misuse with an easy clean tiled interior and hard-wearing fittings.

All of the refurbished facilities will be charged at 20p for use, in order to make the contract sustainable.

There are over 110 councils all over the UK with Healthmatic toilets, from busy night-time city centres like Glasgow to tourist destinations like the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire and North Somerset.

More information about public toilets in the area can be found on the Council’s website.

More details of the improvement plans:

Nine toilets are being installed in parks, play areas and green spaces: Royal Victoria Park play area, Parade Gardens, Memorial Park – Keynsham, Sydney Gardens, Alice Park, Henrietta Park, Monksdale Road, Alexandra Park, and The Shallows in Saltford.
· The 4 others are Monmouth Street; Riverside Coach Park, Charlotte St Car Park, Odd Down Park & Ride;
· In Keynsham Memorial Park the existing facilities for male and female will be improved by installing two new, unisex cubicles (one disability compliant) with their own hand-washing and drying facilities. This will have a high standard of cleanliness and safety and be able to handle large numbers of people using it. NB – When big events are held in the park, organisers are required to hire in portable toilets. This will continue to be the case.
· The current auto-loos at Charlotte Street and Shaftesbury Road to continue until at least 2020; a new facility will open at Newbridge Park & Ride later in 2014;
· Temporary cleaning, locking and repairs only arrangement; Ashton Way, Keynsham (until the town centre is redeveloped in Autumn 2014), Gullock Tyning, Midsomer Norton (until mid-2015 when the leisure contract is awarded with public convenience provision included);
· Up to one year cleaning, locking and repairs only arrangement; Dominion Road – Twerton, High Street – Weston, Bradford Road – Combe Down, Larkhall Square and Peasedown St John. We are working with the community and ward councillors to assess a business case for each;
· Batheaston and Paulton Parish Council are working with the Council to take over running the public conveniences in these locations.

The changes have already brought protests from people using Sydney Gardens in Bath and townspeople at Keynsham.