Payment in loo could be extended

Pay barriers at  the public toilets opposite Clarence Pier in Southsea
Pay barriers at the public toilets opposite Clarence Pier in Southsea

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TOILET charges being trialled at a tourist hotspot in Southsea could be rolled out elsewhere.

Portsmouth City Council, which started making visitors pay 20p to use loos at Clarence Pier last month, now wants to do the same thing at ones in D-Day Museum’s car park.

It would be put off if problems at the other site are identified in the meantime.

The council also doesn’t want to install charging mechanisms while the area is busy. Though there aren’t any plans to introduce charges elsewhere, these areas were picked out because it was recognised they were popular and money could be made.

The changes come after the council decided to axe 12 of its 25 toilets in an effort to save £200,000.

Portsmouth’s Conservative group previously suggested people could pay 20p to use every loo and that way enough cash would be made to keep them all open.

Paul Fielding, the council’s assistant head of service for transport and environment, said: ‘Toilets in popular tourist areas have the potential to raise funds which can be reinvested in operating toilets in the city and prevent us from having to find further savings.

‘Clarence Pier is a good example of somewhere charging could work and we have introduced a 20p fee. We plan to introduce the same charge for toilets in the D-Day Museum car park, but will not be putting in the infrastructure for this until later this year to avoid disruption during the summer.’

Labour group leader John Ferrett said charges weren’t a good idea and the council should have considered knocking down The Pyramids Centre instead.

‘If we have charges and turnstiles then we will have to have something in place to police that as well,’ he said. ‘We are actually looking at costs to the council going up.

‘I am not convinced that charging will bring in enough revenue to offset the cuts the council is making.

‘The reaction of the public shows they do recognise public toilets as a vital part of the infrastructure of the city.’

Toilets at Castle Field, Southsea, Clarke’s Road, Kingston, College Park, Copnor, Lower Drayton Lane, Drayton, Paradise Street, Landport, South Parade Kiosk, Southsea, and White Hart Road, Old Portsmouth, will close by October 31. Loos at Highland Road, Eastney, Bransbury Park, Eastney, and Milton Park, Milton, will shut on September 1.

Those at Hilsea Lido and Marsden Road, Paulsgrove, have already closed.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition in a bid to reverse the council’s decision to close some of the city’s public toilets.

Back in June the Conservative party collected 1,100 signatures but failed to convince Portsmouth City Council.

The petition called on the council to consider introducing a small charge or cutting other expenditure.

The council has closed two of its 25 loos and another nine are due to shut by the end of October.

At the time Cllr Mike Hancock said the council was spending £545,000 on public toilets.