Changing toilet facilities for shoppers

Toilets_iconWe can all appreciate using clean and pleasant toilet facilities when we are out and about, whether we are shopping in town or visiting a restaurant or café. That’s why Ashford Borough Council is working with local businesses to improve the provision of safe and hygienic public toilet facilities in the town centre.

The Community Toilet Scheme sees local businesses working in partnership with the council to open up their toilet facilities to the public free of charge. We’ve teamed up with town centre businesses including shops, cafes and restaurants to provide clean, safe and accessible toilets for Ashford shoppers, residents and visitors.

In exchange for opening their toilets for public use, businesses are paid a small annual fee. The amount granted depends on the level of facilities the business can offer. Those that can provide multiple male and female toilets, baby changing facilities and wheelchair accessible toilets will receive the highest grant.

The council will also provide each business in the scheme with a window sticker to display in their shop front. The stickers will indicate the business is participating in the scheme and specify the type of facilities available. There will also be a dedicated area on the council website providing details of participating businesses with links to their websites in due course and short term details will be displayed on the existing public toilet buildings.

The facilities in Vicarage Lane will close as the Community Toilet Scheme is introduced into the town centre. The New Rents toilets will remain open and will be included in the review of the new scheme in due course. Vandalism and antisocial behaviour is a major concern in these public toilets which results in unplanned closures and inconvenience to the public. The transition of phasing out the town centre toilets and joining the Community Toilet Scheme allows the public to have access to a variety of pleasant, clean, and safe toilets in the heart of the town centre.

The public toilet provisions currently close at 5pm, whereas businesses in the Community Toilet Scheme are able to keep their facilities open for longer.

Ashford is following in the footsteps of dozens of local authorities nationwide who have already successfully introduced the scheme into their towns including Maidstone Borough Council.

Visitors will be able to find out which toilets in Ashford town centre are in the scheme via the council website in due course and via notices on existing public toilet buildings in the short term.

Ashford Borough Council 19 May 2016

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