Laura Sharman 31 May 2016

Budget cuts wiping out public toilets

Nearly two thousand council-run public toilets have closed in the last decade, leaving many areas with no facilities at all, a new investigation has revealed.

A freedom of information request by the BBC found 1,782 council-run public toilets have closed since 2006. Ten areas - including Newcastle, Merthyr Tydil and Wandsworth - now have no public toilets at all on their high streets or public spaces.

According to the research, 22 councils now only have one public toilet and four out of five councils have cut spending on toilets since 2011.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association ( LGA) said budget cuts meant councils had less to spend on community services.

However, a spokesman said councils were doing everything they could to keep public toilets open, including running community toilet schemes to enable pubs, restaurants and shops to make their toilets available to the public.

The research by the BBC showed that many public toilets have undergone ‘extreme’ makeovers rather than being demolished or closed down. For example, derelict toilets have been turned into bars, food outlets, art galleries, recording studies and other local businesses.

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