Outcry over plans to scrap almost half of Portsmouth’s loos

FACING THE AXE Marsden Road
FACING THE AXE Marsden Road
The Public Service Plaza, Havant Borough Council offices
Picture: Allan Hutchings (150078-158)

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HUNDREDS of people have opposed plans to close over half of Portsmouth’s public toilets in an effort to save money.

A public consultation into the city council’s proposal to shut 13 out of its 25 loos provoked reaction from 996 residents.

FACING THE AXE White Hart Road

FACING THE AXE White Hart Road

Though an official break down of the responses have not been released, a source told The News a large number of people had opposed the move.

The main bone of contention was the possible closure of loos at Eastney Point because there isn’t another one facility near by.

The council says too much money is being used to keep toilets open and hopes the closures will help to save £200,000 from the budget.

Some of the money could be spent on improving children’s services.

Tory councillor Luke Stubbs has set up online and paper petitions which have attracted around 1,000 signatures.

‘Public toilets are one of the few council-run services which everyone uses,’ Cllr Stubbs said.

‘Last year 2.5m people visited public toilets in Portsmouth.

‘We need to retain these facilities and the best way to do this would be to introduce a 20p charge on all of them. I appreciate that money has to be saved but is this the way to do it?

‘The next toilet nearest to Eastney Point is at least a mile away.

‘One of the main factors people consider when they choose a place to visit is if there are toilets facilities there.’

The plans include getting rid of toilets in places where there are more than one available and encourage more people to use ones at community centres.

People would also be charged 20p to use loos near the D-Day Museum and at Clarence Pier, in Southsea.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The council should consider keeping community centres open for longer if people have to use their toilets.’

Though loos at Eastney Point have been earmarked for closure, council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said they could be saved because money left over from dealing with environmental matters hadn’t been spent.

‘Currently the council spends £540,000 on public toilets and we can’t afford to do that anymore,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.

‘We have got to find the money to look after children in care.

‘The government is also cutting our grants by one third over the next four years. We are making sure that toilet facilities are still available in most areas of the city.’

The outcome of the public consultation will be discussed at full cabinet on March 4.

LIST OF CITY COUNCIL FACILITIES WHICH COULD BE SCRAPPED

THE council is looking to close public loos at; Bransbury Park, Castle Field, Southsea, Clarke’s Road, Kingston, College Park, Copnor, Eastney Point, Eastney, Highland Road, Eastney, Hilsea Lido, Hilsea and in Lower Drayton Lane, Drayton.

Toilets at Marsden Road, Paulsgrove, will go - but toilets at nearby Paulsgrove Community Centre will stay - loos at Milton Park, Milton will go - but toilets at nearby Milton Village Hall will stay.

Loos will go at Paradise Street, Landport, South Parade Kiosk, Southsea - but toilets at nearby Canoe Lake will stay - and loos will go at White Hart Road, Old Portsmouth - but toilets at the Hot Walls nearby will stay.