Community Toilet Scheme

Sign displayed by Community Toilet Scheme MembersVisitors to Ashford town centre will soon have more choice on where they can use the toilet as Ashford Borough Council, in conjunction with local businesses including County Square, Debenhams, McDonalds and Pizza Express, will be rolling out the Community Toilet Scheme in early September.

We 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 including shops, cafes and restaurants working in partnership with the council to open up their toilet facilities to the public free of charge for Ashford shoppers, residents and visitors.

The council will 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 posters displayed around the town and a dedicated area on the council website providing details of participating businesses, the facilities available and their opening times.

There are initially 12 locations included in the scheme including County Square, Debenhams, Muffin Break, McDonalds, Stag Coffee, Little Tea Pot, The Phoenix, Pizza Express, Paper Duck, the Civic Centre, Ashford Gateway Plus and New Rents. More businesses also are likely to come on board in due course.

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.

Cllr Clair Bell, Portfolio Holder for Public interaction and Borough Presentation, said: “Ashford Borough Council is committed to providing its residents and visitors with hygienic and pleasant toilet facilities. The Community Toilet Scheme allows the public to have access to a wider choice of toilets across the town centre.

“Many toilets will have longer opening hours than the public toilets, and select facilities will provide disabled access and baby changing amenities. It is also a further step to supporting the town centre and its businesses.”

Cllr Graham Galpin, Portfolio Holder for Town Centres Focus, said: “The Community Toilet Scheme will offer safe, clean and pleasant toilets in the heart of the town centre and many of the facilities will exceed the opening hours of the existing public toilets.

“At the moment, the public toilets in New Rents and Vicarage Lane close at 5pm, whereas facilities in the Community Toilet Scheme will remain open until much later in the evening.”

Ashford Borough Council 05 September 2016

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