Agenda item

Report of the Head of Environment and Public Realm - Community Toilet Scheme


The Committee considered the report of the Head of Environment and Public Realm relating to the Community Toilet Scheme. 


The Street Scene Operations Manager advised that a review of the Community Toilet Scheme had been undertaken to take into account new businesses within the town and to ensure that those toilets offered under the scheme were of good quality and easily accessible.


Members noted that Officers had worked closely with One Maidstone to identify such businesses and they had agreed to speak with businesses on a business to business level to gain support for the scheme.


As a result of the review, it was noted that:-

·  ten toilets had been identified as being suitable, both in terms of quality, provision and location with the Town Centre;

·  a further three businesses had yet to confirm whether they would be willing to take part in the scheme. 

·  five toilets from the original scheme had been removed; and

·  one business had declined to be part of the scheme due to their entry policy.


The Street Scene Operations Manager confirmed that the Community Toilet Scheme would be advertised through the Council’s website and leaflets would be available in prominent places throughout the town centre in perspex holders.  In addition a large sticker would be put on the front doors of the premises participating in the scheme so members of the public would be able to easily identify them.


During the ensuing debate, the following comments were made by Members:-

·  the Community Toilet Scheme had been a token response to the closure of the public toilets in Maidstone

·  what agreement is made with the businesses signed up, i.e. what can we expect from them?

·  why are we paying these businesses when there are already up to 15 retailers/eateries already providing toilet facilities within the town centre, as defined by using toilet apps such as ‘Flush’ or ‘Toilet Finder’, do we need to pay these other businesses, this could be a saving?

·  the scheme disadvantages the elderly, the young, MBC staff (on the road), utility people etc, did Officers carry out an Equalities Impact Needs Assessment?

·  will there be any new signage for these toilets?

·  there is a national campaign to provide disabled facilities so will there be a changing places facility for Maidstone?

·  the toilet facilities within the scheme have differing opening times.

·  the review seems to increase costs to £1,500, why?

·  could new public conveniences be built in the town?

·  the scheme was a very effective way of dealing with the situation and provided good value for money

·  this is a very pragmatic solution and promotion of the scheme is important.

·  how many complaints had been logged where visitors to the town could not find a toilet facility?

In response the Officer advised that:-

·  the cost of cleaning a Council owned toilet block was £15,000 per annum, this did not include the maintenance of the building. The total cost to the Council was extremely significant.  In a majority of cases the toilet blocks were in poor condition and anti-social behaviour did cause further issues.

·  an agreement with the businesses would require them to achieve an acceptable level of cleanliness and should this not be achieved, there would be a mechanism for them to be withdrawn from the scheme and for payment to cease.

·  if a business is participating in the scheme, the customer would feel more confident about going in there and not having to buy something.

·  the Council is investigating whether the equipment for the changing places that was in the Gateway offices could be reused elsewhere assuming it could be accommodated in existing facilities.

·  an Equalities Impact Needs Assessment was carried out in March 2016 when the previous report was presented to Committee, but another copy could be provided for Members if they wished.

·  The original finger signage for the community toilets got lost amongst all the others, so alternatives would be introduced such as the leaflets in prominent places and  large A0 signs depicting the location of the toilets would be cited in prime locations.

·  Any provision of new public conveniences would need to be considered as part of the future development of the town.

·  There had been 4 complaints received where visitors could not find a toilet facility.




1)  That the work which has been carried out to refresh the Community Toilet Scheme be noted; and

2)  That the 10 community toilets to replace those previously part of the scheme be noted.


Voting:  For:  9  Against:  0  Abstentions:  0


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