Glasgow council claims more public toilets ‘unnecessary’

A campaigner behind a bid to get more public toilets in Glasgow has admitted she is disappointed after a council review found extra facilities were “unnecessary”.

Campaigners have been calling for more public toilets in Glasgow.

Patricia Fort, who launched a petition which amassed thousands of signatures, said extra ‘free at the point of use’ toilets are needed in the city’s parks and public spaces.

Councillors were “very supportive” of her cause at a meeting in August and called for a review.

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But the investigation is now complete and has concluded it is “unnecessary to increase the number of council-operated public toilet facilities”.

Ms Fort has reiterated there is a “need for more” and said it was “disappointing” the council had used the results of a survey undertaken in 2016.

That consultation found Sauchiehall Street businesses were unwilling to support a ‘community toilet scheme’, where people, including non-paying customers, can use the facilities at participating shops, cafes or pubs.

“That was disappointing, that they said five years ago there was no approval,” Ms Fort said. “I think there would be if they asked in the right way and they asked the right people.”

The council has agreed to increase the number of signs informing people where toilets are available, and has updated a list, and a map, of public toilets on its website.

New and improved signs are being installed at the Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park and Victoria Park.

A list of all public toilet locations has also been provided to a privately operated website — https://loocations.com/ — to “further raise awareness”.

The report states: “The review has concluded there is considerable public toilet provision within Glasgow but acknowledges the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the operation of these facilities and that more could be done to advertise the existence of these facilities.

“Work has been done to raise awareness of public toilet facilities and address the perception that there is a lack of facilities within Glasgow.

“At this stage it is unnecessary to increase the number of council-operated public toilet facilities. In particular, the council disagrees with the introduction of portable toilets within the city due to the visual impact and concerns relating to safety and hygiene.”

The report also states “any new development delivered” by the council will consider “opportunities for increased public toilet provision”.

Ms Fort said: “It’s good they’re increasing that list they’ve got on their website. But who walks around with the list of public toilets open? We need signs.”

She wants signs that highlight how far away people are from the nearest public toilets, and added: “How would visitors know where to go?”

The results of the review will go before a council committee on Tuesday, when councillors will be able to respond to the findings.

Over 1300 people had supported Ms Fort’s petition, and she said she was “really pleased with the reception it got”.

The council report adds: “The council fully acknowledges that whilst the provision of public toilets is not a statutory requirement, there is a public need for clean, fit-for-purpose facilities at strategic locations for use by residents and visitors to the city. “