City leaders back York public toilets improvement scheme

York Press: The toilets at St George’s Field The toilets at St George’s Field

A £663,000 scheme to improve York’s public toilets in time for the Tour de France, with 40p charges being introduced, has been backed by city leaders.

Plans to outsource the refurbishment and maintenance of the city’s loos through a 15-year contract will now be voted on at a full meeting of City of York Council, after being approved by the authority’s cabinet.

The changes would mean 24-hour opening, with the St Sampson’s Square block closing and the Silver Street facilities being improved.

The contract would cover Front Street in Acomb, Coppergate, Exhibition Square, Tanner Row and the Nunnery Lane and St George’s Field car park toilets.

The council said the new arrangements would save £75,000 a year and the refurbishment of nine of York’s ten toilet blocks will be completed by next May, with work being done on Exhibition Square first. All toilets will have unisex and baby-changing facilities, alarm cords for disabled users and better access. Up front refurbishment costs will be paid back over 15 years by top-slicing the council’s annual toilets budget. The British Toilet Association has welcomed introducing the 40p-per-visit charges.

Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “It might not be glamorous, but it is certainly important and would mean significant improvements. This is a good deal for residents and visitors.”

Council leader James Alexander said toilet charges were in place in cities across Europe and budget constraints had made improvements difficult.

“We’ve known for some time that our public toilets are not of the quality befitting this city and they do not give a good impression of York,” said Coun Alexander.

The council would have no control over charges, apart from the requirement that prices did not rise by more than 10p a year, but no more than two increases in 15 years are expected.

The council said maintaining the current arrangements would require extra funding or closing some toilets. The cabinet also agreed to take a two-year lease, with an option for a third year, on an as-yet-unnamed city-centre building as a short-term base for York’s health and social care hub, a partnership with the voluntary and community sector. It will allow more time to find a permanent solution after plans for the hub to be based at Oliver House, the former Bishophill care home, which will now be sold, fell through.

The cost of cremations and other funeral services, wedding and birth registration fees, community centre hire, and fees for tennis courts, bowling greens and council allotments will rise from January 1 after the cabinet gave approval.

Comments (15)

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9:24am Thu 5 Dec 13

CHISSY1 says...

Yes we want and need more public toilets.But why "in time for the Tour de France".They are needed regardless.
Yes we want and need more public toilets.But why "in time for the Tour de France".They are needed regardless. CHISSY1

11:04am Thu 5 Dec 13

tobefair says...

Here's Bradley Wiggins leading the Tour de France as he passes York Minster and turns right into Lendal with the pack close behind him. But wait, he's stopped at the toilets in Exhibition Square. Has anyone got 40p?
Here's Bradley Wiggins leading the Tour de France as he passes York Minster and turns right into Lendal with the pack close behind him. But wait, he's stopped at the toilets in Exhibition Square. Has anyone got 40p? tobefair

12:17pm Thu 5 Dec 13

The OX says...

So what they are saying if it wasn't for the Tour de France we would not be gett the loos sorted, nothing yet again for the local tax payer, who use York day by day , but bikes that will be here for a day get them
So what they are saying if it wasn't for the Tour de France we would not be gett the loos sorted, nothing yet again for the local tax payer, who use York day by day , but bikes that will be here for a day get them The OX

12:40pm Thu 5 Dec 13

nearlyman says...

Its only because we are shamed in comparison to the French provision of public toilets.
Its only because we are shamed in comparison to the French provision of public toilets. nearlyman

12:42pm Thu 5 Dec 13

BL2 says...

The council would have no control over charges, apart from the requirement that prices did not rise by more than 10p a year, but no more than two increases in 15 years are expected.

So basically they can charge as much as they like and the council can do nothing to stop them as long is it's not raised by more than 10p a year ...

£1 in 6 years then...
[quote]The council would have no control over charges, apart from the requirement that prices did not rise by more than 10p a year, but no more than two increases in 15 years are expected. [/quote] So basically they can charge as much as they like and the council can do nothing to stop them as long is it's not raised by more than 10p a year ... £1 in 6 years then... BL2

1:08pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

40p? Why not charge a Euro (pronounced "Uro",)...?
40p? Why not charge a Euro (pronounced "Uro",)...? Ignatius Lumpopo

2:46pm Thu 5 Dec 13

old_geezer says...

Has anyone noticed that we've lost the toilets in Museum Gardens? Councillor Watson?
Has anyone noticed that we've lost the toilets in Museum Gardens? Councillor Watson? old_geezer

3:11pm Thu 5 Dec 13

asd says...

I have to say it, 'They are taking the p*ss', well not anymore.
I have to say it, 'They are taking the p*ss', well not anymore. asd

3:14pm Thu 5 Dec 13

ReginaldBiscuit says...

Public toilets in York are rare both in their frequency and smell.

As the well known saying for non-residents and visitors goes, "When caught short in York, try using a cork.." - Apparently this is well known in other parts of the country.

Being a resident, the only thing I can say is that I think people who frequent York's public toilets are very friendly indeed. Only the other day, I, had cramps and had to make for the Exhibition Square toilets very quickly to enable me to 'release some hostages'. I locked the cubicle door and sat down. To my horror, there was no toilet paper but then I heard a noise and looked up. There in the murky gloom looking over the side of the cubicle was a good Samaritan! It was the face of a shaven head man with a great big mustache peering over from the cubicle next door, his face caught in some unimaginable grimacing pose as he scratched something furiously with his left arm - I could not see what he was scratching but these places are infested with all manner of insect life and one must have walked up his trouser leg . I asked him if he had any toilet paper and he quickly disappeared (not to return) so I had to make do with the readers' letters pages from the Press. Hooray for the Press! Saved the day yet again.
Public toilets in York are rare both in their frequency and smell. As the well known saying for non-residents and visitors goes, "When caught short in York, try using a cork.." - Apparently this is well known in other parts of the country. Being a resident, the only thing I can say is that I think people who frequent York's public toilets are very friendly indeed. Only the other day, I, had cramps and had to make for the Exhibition Square toilets very quickly to enable me to 'release some hostages'. I locked the cubicle door and sat down. To my horror, there was no toilet paper but then I heard a noise and looked up. There in the murky gloom looking over the side of the cubicle was a good Samaritan! It was the face of a shaven head man with a great big mustache peering over from the cubicle next door, his face caught in some unimaginable grimacing pose as he scratched something furiously with his left arm - I could not see what he was scratching but these places are infested with all manner of insect life and one must have walked up his trouser leg . I asked him if he had any toilet paper and he quickly disappeared (not to return) so I had to make do with the readers' letters pages from the Press. Hooray for the Press! Saved the day yet again. ReginaldBiscuit

4:35pm Thu 5 Dec 13

MarkyMarkMark says...

"The council would have no control over charges, apart from the requirement that prices did not rise by more than 10p a year, but no more than two increases in 15 years are expected."

So, is this actually built into the contract - i.e. it'll only ever increase by a maximum of 20p over the whole of the 15 years?

And will the outsource contractor be required to keep all of the existing toilets (even the non-profit making ones like Acomb will probably be) open for the full 15 year term?

Are there monitoring, governance & penalty clauses for failure to provide a service to a documented standard?
"The council would have no control over charges, apart from the requirement that prices did not rise by more than 10p a year, but no more than two increases in 15 years are expected." So, is this actually built into the contract - i.e. it'll only ever increase by a maximum of 20p over the whole of the 15 years? And will the outsource contractor be required to keep all of the existing toilets (even the non-profit making ones like Acomb will probably be) open for the full 15 year term? Are there monitoring, governance & penalty clauses for failure to provide a service to a documented standard? MarkyMarkMark

7:23pm Thu 5 Dec 13

chelk says...

I love this Council they get more like The Muppet Show every time one of them opens their mouths. Then they wonder why most residents would not P**s on them if they were on fire
I love this Council they get more like The Muppet Show every time one of them opens their mouths. Then they wonder why most residents would not P**s on them if they were on fire chelk

8:43pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Bo Jolly says...

I'm utterly bamboozled as to why paying 40p to take a p*ss is an 'improvement'. Leaving aside residents for a moment (especially some older people and others who may have 'special' toilet needs), we really are playing fast and loose with our visitors. As someone who was once lucky (supposedly!) enough to visit Luxor, I can assure the council that people only visit a rip-off tourist trap once.
I'm utterly bamboozled as to why paying 40p to take a p*ss is an 'improvement'. Leaving aside residents for a moment (especially some older people and others who may have 'special' toilet needs), we really are playing fast and loose with our visitors. As someone who was once lucky (supposedly!) enough to visit Luxor, I can assure the council that people only visit a rip-off tourist trap once. Bo Jolly

8:59pm Thu 5 Dec 13

bolero says...

ReginaldBiscuit wrote:
Public toilets in York are rare both in their frequency and smell.

As the well known saying for non-residents and visitors goes, "When caught short in York, try using a cork.." - Apparently this is well known in other parts of the country.

Being a resident, the only thing I can say is that I think people who frequent York's public toilets are very friendly indeed. Only the other day, I, had cramps and had to make for the Exhibition Square toilets very quickly to enable me to 'release some hostages'. I locked the cubicle door and sat down. To my horror, there was no toilet paper but then I heard a noise and looked up. There in the murky gloom looking over the side of the cubicle was a good Samaritan! It was the face of a shaven head man with a great big mustache peering over from the cubicle next door, his face caught in some unimaginable grimacing pose as he scratched something furiously with his left arm - I could not see what he was scratching but these places are infested with all manner of insect life and one must have walked up his trouser leg . I asked him if he had any toilet paper and he quickly disappeared (not to return) so I had to make do with the readers' letters pages from the Press. Hooray for the Press! Saved the day yet again.
There's no answer to that is there? Well perhaps there is but I doubt whether The Press would print it.
[quote][p][bold]ReginaldBiscuit[/bold] wrote: Public toilets in York are rare both in their frequency and smell. As the well known saying for non-residents and visitors goes, "When caught short in York, try using a cork.." - Apparently this is well known in other parts of the country. Being a resident, the only thing I can say is that I think people who frequent York's public toilets are very friendly indeed. Only the other day, I, had cramps and had to make for the Exhibition Square toilets very quickly to enable me to 'release some hostages'. I locked the cubicle door and sat down. To my horror, there was no toilet paper but then I heard a noise and looked up. There in the murky gloom looking over the side of the cubicle was a good Samaritan! It was the face of a shaven head man with a great big mustache peering over from the cubicle next door, his face caught in some unimaginable grimacing pose as he scratched something furiously with his left arm - I could not see what he was scratching but these places are infested with all manner of insect life and one must have walked up his trouser leg . I asked him if he had any toilet paper and he quickly disappeared (not to return) so I had to make do with the readers' letters pages from the Press. Hooray for the Press! Saved the day yet again.[/p][/quote]There's no answer to that is there? Well perhaps there is but I doubt whether The Press would print it. bolero

11:32pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Omega Point says...

Bo Jolly wrote:
I'm utterly bamboozled as to why paying 40p to take a p*ss is an 'improvement'. Leaving aside residents for a moment (especially some older people and others who may have 'special' toilet needs), we really are playing fast and loose with our visitors. As someone who was once lucky (supposedly!) enough to visit Luxor, I can assure the council that people only visit a rip-off tourist trap once.
So folk won't come back to York because of sub-standard toilet provison? Most of us place give a higher priority to other things when deciding to go somewhere
[quote][p][bold]Bo Jolly[/bold] wrote: I'm utterly bamboozled as to why paying 40p to take a p*ss is an 'improvement'. Leaving aside residents for a moment (especially some older people and others who may have 'special' toilet needs), we really are playing fast and loose with our visitors. As someone who was once lucky (supposedly!) enough to visit Luxor, I can assure the council that people only visit a rip-off tourist trap once.[/p][/quote]So folk won't come back to York because of sub-standard toilet provison? Most of us place give a higher priority to other things when deciding to go somewhere Omega Point

2:19am Fri 6 Dec 13

Magicman! says...

The OX wrote:
So what they are saying if it wasn't for the Tour de France we would not be gett the loos sorted, nothing yet again for the local tax payer, who use York day by day , but bikes that will be here for a day get them
Where is it mentioned that the TdF coming has prompted this overhaul of the toilets?? have I missed a memo or is somebody bulls***ting once again?
[quote][p][bold]The OX[/bold] wrote: So what they are saying if it wasn't for the Tour de France we would not be gett the loos sorted, nothing yet again for the local tax payer, who use York day by day , but bikes that will be here for a day get them[/p][/quote]Where is it mentioned that the TdF coming has prompted this overhaul of the toilets?? have I missed a memo or is somebody bulls***ting once again? Magicman!

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