Don’t ‘pan’ community loo idea - I reckon it can work

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

Have your say

What’s all of this hullabaloo about the loos?

Many folk are up in arms that public latrines in Portsmouth are being closed, all part of local authority cost-cutting measures.

‘This is going to affect tourism in the city’ cried one privy watcher.

Seriously? If your mantra is to book your holidays on the strength of the public toilets in the vicinity, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.

That said, I do agree that in areas like Palmerston Road or by the beach, where there are many visitors who may be caught on the hop, we need to provide adequate facilities.

But to think that tourists will take a swerve on visiting because there are fewer WCs is crazy jibba-jabba.

At a time when public services are being trimmed to breaking point, something has to give.

Given a choice of toilets staying open or losing welfare, education or sporting resources, it’s an easy choice.

The ‘community toilet’ idea has been, er, panned by many. But I think it’ll work.

Businesses who normally only offer facilities to their customers are being asked by Portsmouth City Council to open their doors to the wider public who appear, cross-legged and with a slightly fretful look on their face.

I’ve seen establishments whimper ‘why should my business have to pay for cleaning and toilet rolls?’

Well, firstly the demand for popping into a pub/restaurant and quickly using the toilet isn’t going to be huge. Being a big toilet roll fan myself, a few extra sheets of bulk-bought supplies won’t break the bank.

On a truly positive note, a few people a day nipping through the doors to go about their business could actually be good for, well, business.

Walking into a pub to use the toilets and having your senses blown away by freshly-produced lunches or a particularly hoppy ale is a brilliant way to convert amenity-users into paying customers.

Community toilets have worked well in other parts of the country and they could become the norm in Portsmouth.

If that happened, I suppose you could call them ‘bog standard’.