THE closure of public toilets in Huddersfield is unfair, discriminatory and will only lead to further problems.
Some people will find themselves in a Catch 22 situation, where they will have to purchase drinks in a café or pub in order to use the toilet. Others may end up in the magistrates’ court.
That’s the view of Quarmby man Alan Robinson, 47, who has to take diuretic tablets for a heart condition, which means he has to regularly use the toilet.
He is dreading the impending closure of all remaining 11 unattended public conveniences by Kirklees Council, a decision taken at December’s Cabinet meeting to save around £75,000 a year.
“This decision could lead to real problems for people, and it discriminates against those like myself who have a real need for public toilets.
“In my experience, I have found café bar owners and landlords won’t allow you to use their toilets unless you are spending money in there. It is a Catch 22 situation.
“It will either end up with more people being fined in the magistrates’ courts for urinating in public or, possibly in my case, not taking my diuretic tablets for fear of the consequences.
“There is also an issue about public health – what about the Ale Trail?
“The result of the closures will be that people will be forced to go to the toilet in the street. It is taking us back to the days before the 1840s and is not becoming for a civilised society.”
Mr Robinson, of Reinwood Road, has suggested that Kirklees look at a scheme similar to that in Blackpool where 21 public toilets are operated in partnership with a company called Danfo UK.
There, fully automatic public conveniences are cleaned after each use and Radar keys – part of a nationally used locking scheme – are issued to the disabled for a small fee.
Kirklees Cabinet member Clr David Sheard said: “Urinating in gardens is down to anti-social behaviour and not a lack of toilets.
“All pubs on the Ale Trail have toilets so there is no excuse to urinate outside.”
Kirklees will not be disposing of the public toilets straight away. The council is keen to speak with community groups to see if they can be reopened in the future.
A council spokesman added: “As far as the Radar key scheme is concerned, the toilets that are being closed do have Radar key-accessible toilets which were designed specifically for disabled use.
“Unfortunately, all of the budget for unattended toilets was removed, so there is no money available to continue the provision at all.
“The attended toilets in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Holmfirth will remain and these have disabled access facilities.”
In autumn 2011, Kirklees put public toilets in Manchester Road, Linthwaite, up for sale at £15,000 for the 22-square metre property.
They are still for sale.