Work will start on refurbishing York's public toilets today when Healthmatic begin a £663,000 upgrade.

The contractor will begin with the Union Terrace car and coach park toilets and follow with those in Nunnery Lane car park on March 31. Temporary facilities will be arranged or installed at both sites during the work.

The toilets at Front Street, Acomb, Coppergate Centre, Bootham Bar, Tanner Row and Silver Street will also be included.

The council expects that when the work finishes, all the public conveniences to have unisex cubicles and baby change facilities. They will all have 24-hour access, on payment of a 40p fee to open their gates, and an alarm cord for disabled users linked to a 24-hour helpline. Disabled users will continue to have access via a RADAR key for no charge.

City of York Council hopes the work will improve cleanliness and disabled access and make savings of £75,000.

It hopes the entry payment will cover the cost of automatic cleaning after each visit to complement daily visits by cleaners and help offset the cost of the refurbishment.

Healthmatic will also be responsible for maintaining the toilets.