Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Toilet Talk in Brighton and Hove: Clean or Dirty Hands?

wc Here’s a letter from me,  published in today’s Brighton Argus, about a budget proposal from the (Green) administration which will cut the availability (some closures, some reductions in hours) of public toilets in Brighton and Hove. This is bad news for all residents and visitors, but especially those of us who choose to walk around the city. I sent the draft to the three councillors mentioned in the letter, of whom two have replied: Tory leader Geoffrey Theobald noted, “The Conservative Group does not agree with closing all these toilets,” and Labour’s leader Gill Mitchell alerted me to the campaign and e-petition LOLA - Leave Our Loos Alone, that was launched just before Christmas, noting that it was a) non party political and b) gathering a lot of support.
I see that the Brighton Politics Blogger gave his “most Inspired Campaign of the Year to the Labour Party for LOLA, the campaign, to save public toilets from closure.” I also notice that his “Trend Setters Award goes to .... the Labour Party of the early 1990′s for starting the public toilet closure programme in Brighton.” Politics and awards aside, if signing the petition can help prevent some inconvenience, it's worth doing.
There is an organisation called the British Toilet Association, whose mission is to represent the interest and aspirations of 'away from home' toilet providers, suppliers and users of all types and to act as the catalyst for change in the pursuit of standards of excellence in all areas of public toilet provision and management. The BTA notes that:
  • Britain's public toilets were once the envy of the world
  • In recent years, significant number of public toilets have been closed down
  • We need more and better toilets
As a result, the BTA has set up a 'Where Can I Go' campaign to change attitudes to meeting a basic human need – provision of clean, hygienic and safe publicly accessible toilets that are available where and when needed for all types of users. And guess which organisation is listed as one of the campaign’s supporters? Step forward…

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