Bath’s major inconvenience?

People relieving themselves in the bushes because they can’t find a loo!! And this a World Heritage City??

Not my words but those of a Blue badge Tour guide who l spoke to about a “Letter To The Editor” they have collectively sent to the Bath Chronicle about the lack of public conveniences in the city.

Andy Clark talking to a member of the public.

I have chatted to Andy Clark who has been a Blue Badge Guide for seven years – but first here’s that letter – sent on their behalf – by the Chair of Bristol and Bath Guild of Blue Badge Guides, Maeve Hamilton Hercod.

“As the weather improves and socialising becomes easier, people are pouring into Bath in increasing numbers. My Blue Badge Tourist Guide colleagues are attracting lots of visitors to their walks on the city’s history and architecture and Bridgerton. However, tourists and shoppers alike are facing an inconvenient problem – the lack of public toilets.

It’s several years since the council decided to close down the toilet block in Avon Street with no replacement planned, so guides have become used to struggling with solutions for coach groups coming into town.

Now the situation affects individuals as well, with toilets out of action because they are in need of repair, unpleasant to use despite costing 20p, difficult to access or simply closed. Is this really how a World Heritage Site wishes to welcome visitors to the city? 

For visitors and for residents alike, this an inconvenient problem that needs to be resolved.”

I caught up with Andy Clark on their pitch site outside the West Front of Bath Abbey and asked him for his take on the issue.

I had approached B&NES for comment and also chatted – informally – to an attendant on the gate to Parade Gardens.

She told me she WOULD let anyone who was desperate for the loo – especially a child or elderly person – through to use the facilities. However, the idea was not to have a queue forming. I will publish a response from the council as soon as l receive one.

Here’s the official statement from B&NES>

Councillor David Wood, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services said: “We have prioritised keeping all our public toilets open during Covid and have maintained them to high standards. This year we are also carrying out improvements, refurbishing the toilets in Sydney Gardens and building new ones at Bath Quays. 

“We promote the locations of all central Bath facilities via our website, social media channels and through our partners. A detailed map of public loos in the centre of Bath is available by visiting: https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/sites/default/files/siteimages/bath_centre_map_wc_map_october_20.pdf

“Access to Parade Gardens is free for residents with a Discovery Card, but the toilets cost 20p for all. The disabled access facilities in Monmouth Street are being repaired and are due reopen this week.”