Portsmouth community loos not panning out as hoped

NOW CLOSED The public toilets near Hilsea Lido
NOW CLOSED The public toilets near Hilsea Lido
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PLANS for firms to open their toilets to the public to replace facilities closed by Portsmouth City Council have hit the buffers.

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

It wants firms to help out in the hope no area will be left without a toilet. But support has been slow.

A community toilet scheme happens in other areas of the country and Wightlink has agreed to offer people the use of its loo at The Hard.

But Vince Faithfull, owner of A&V Trade Sales, a motorbike business in Southsea, said there were too many risks involved.

‘It would be a health and safety issue for us,’ he said.

‘If people came in to use our toilet they would be walking past motorbikes and if they happened to knock into any of them then we would be burdened with the cost.

‘Why would we need to increase our outgoings in a time of austerity in order to provide something which the council be providing itself?’

Sabrina Richards, chairwoman of Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust, said it would be completely impractical for people to use the loos at the premises when private functions are on.

‘Asking someone to take up that responsibility, burden and cost is just a difficult one to understand,’ she said.

‘You would think any closure would be properly considered.’

Emma Cole, the council’s project manager for public toilets, said: ‘We’re looking to introduce a community toilet scheme where we would work with organisations willing to allow members of the public to use their facilities.

‘As the first step of this we are already talking to several community centres across the city. The idea of a community toilet scheme follows the success of similar schemes in other parts of the country.

‘This is not a compulsory scheme and will be on a voluntary basis.’

Toilets in College Park, Highland Road, Clarkes Road, Lower Drayton Lane, Bransbury Park, Milton Park, Paradise Street, South Parade Kiosk and White Hart Road will close by October 31.

Loos at Hilsea Lido and Marsden Road closed last month.

As previously reported in The News, the closures will help the council save £200,000 as it says it can’t afford to keep spending £540,000 a year keeping them open.