Conservatives Dismiss Lib Dem Demands for Increased Public Toilet Provision in Bromley

19 Oct 2023
Lib Dem logo bird projected on blockwork

Bromley Lib Dems’ proposal to the Council to increase and improve public toilet provision across the borough was voted down by Conservative Councillors at the Council meeting on 16th October 2023.

Cllr Will Connolly and Cllr Chloe-Jane Ross presented the motion, as reported in MyLondon, asking for more publicly accessible toilets, more information about where they are, better standards and a designated Council Officer to make sure the borough's public toilets provision is good enough.

The motion noted the poor condition of conveniences across the borough, including specifically in Beckenham’s Kelsey Park and Croydon Road Rec, and that the Community Toilet Scheme, where participating shops, restaurants and bars give the public free access to their toilets during their trading hours, is not sufficient. In Beckenham the number of participants in the scheme has dropped from eight to one. In Orpington residents regularly complain at the lack of any public toilets in Green Street Green High Street and several play parks such as St Paul's Cray.

Speaking after the motion failed to pass, Cllr Connolly said “It’s a real shame that this issue - that deters 1 in 5 people from visiting our green spaces and high streets - hasn’t been taken seriously. We need a strategy to address this across the borough and I’m not going to let the issue be ignored.”

At the meeting Cllr Ross told all Conservative Councillors that while they had pooh-poohed (no pun intended) the idea of a Publicly Accessible Toilet Strategy, if they had had one in place maybe the park toilets would not have fallen into such a disgusting state and the Council would have noticed the Community Toilet Scheme’s collapse. She said, “I am really disappointed the Conservatives failed to back the motion, we only brought this motion on Publicly Accessible Toilets to Council because there is a problem, and the Conservatives failure to acknowledge the problem is impacting local people.  Accessibility is an important issue for the Lib Dems and we will continue to campaign on it and get better provision for the borough's residents”.

Read the full proposal below, it's shocking that Conservative Councillors unanimously voted against it.

Public Toilets - Liberal Democrat Motion (not adopted by Bromley Council)

To be moved by Councillor Will Connolly and seconded by Councillor Chloe-Jane Ross: 

When public toilets owned and managed by Bromley Council were closed, the Council implemented the Community Toilet Scheme that saw numerous businesses across the borough sign up to offer residents and visitors toilet facilities without needing to make a purchase. Since the COVID-19 pandemic the number of businesses signed-up to the scheme has fallen dramatically. In addition, the standard of public toilets in some of the borough’s parks has fallen. 

A 2019 report from the Royal Society of Public Health found that one-in-five experience the ‘loo leash’ – leaving the house much less often than they would like due to a lack of public or available toilets. Bromley Council does not want this for our residents or visitors. 

Council notes: 

  • That clean and safe publicly accessible toilets are critical in encouraging residents and visitors to get out and about in our borough.  
  • The lack of high-standard publicly accessible toilets prevents some adults and children from leaving the house as often or for as long as they would like to. This can stop people visiting our towns, high streets, shopping parades and outdoor spaces, it will cause social isolation for some.  
  • Age UK London reports that some people reduce the amount they drink before going to some places, and for older residents and many with impairments this can lead to dehydration and serious health consequences.  
  • The community toilet scheme in towns, and toilets in our parks and green spaces, make these places accessible to everyone. 

Therefore, Council calls for the Executive:  

  • To develop a Publicly Accessible Toilet Strategy, with a designated Officer or Team responsible for its delivery, that will increase the number of Community Toilet venues and improve toilet provision in parks and green spaces.  
  • To launch a public information awareness campaign on publicly accessible toilets across the borough, including a directory on the Council website.  
  • To work with Councillors, residents groups and other stakeholders to review the quality and accessibility of community and parks toilets, and identify opportunities for expanding the borough’s Publicly Accessible Toilet network.

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