As part of a £1.1 million refurbishment on the city’s public toilets, Brighton and Hove City council have announced that they are planning to introduce 30p payments into 11 of the 37 toilets around town.
With councillors set to vote on the plans this evening (Thursday 12th), the council have claimed that the enormous figure will be used to to refurbish and modernise Brighton’s busiest public toilets, with the much criticised Royal Pavilion Gardens site first on the list. If the vote is successful, work will begin on the toilets in winter, when demand is lower.
However, despite this enormous amount that the council are planning to spend on toilets, they are still gearing to get more money out of users. Out of the 12 busiest toilets that are part of the refurbishment plan, 11 fill feature “upgrades” that include the introduction of a 30p charge for users, which can conveniently be payed by contactless payment, via card or phone, or cash.
The council have claimed that as according to the Public Health Act 1936, local authorities are under no obligation to provide public toilets, these charges are fair. They have said that all money generated by go directly back into the upkeep of Brighton’s toilets.
However, many are guaranteed to be disgruntled at the introduction of more pay-to-use toilets. Firstly, it naturally puts more strain on homeless communities, of which Brighton has a large one, as now they are being forced to use money that they don’t necessarily have in order to perform a basic bodily function.
Also, more consideration needs to be made for women, who often have no choice but to use a public toilet in order to change sanitary products. With the growing campaign around the the extortionate charges of women’s sanitary products, to now also charge them to change such products seems to be an invite for criticism.
However, Deputy council leader, Councillor Gill Mitchell has praised these new plans: “If the committee passes this recommendation it will mean our residents and tourist can look forward to beautifully refurbished, state of the art loos in our main city and seafront areas.
“£1.1m is a huge investment and it will transform our toilet facilities and ensure we’re providing loos that the city and its people can be proud of.”
The council went on to add that these charges were part of necessary measures needed to save £22 million due to recent government cut backs.
Have your say – are charges for using public toilets necessary or discriminating? Let us know.