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40p To Spend A Penny In York And Unisex Loos?

toilet sign

8:15am 3rd December 2013

It'll cost you 40p to spend a penny in York and public toilets in the city could soon become unisex.

That's part of plans by City of York Council to improve public conveniences, which could be given a substantial upgrade to improve cleanliness and disabled access while making required savings of £75,000. The Cabinet will be asked today (3 December) to approve plans to implement a contract to both refurbish and run the facilities for the next 15 years.

The project aims to invest £663,000 of modern facilities, maintained and cleaned to a high standard. The council say that people will benefit from the upgrade of facilities, including at Acomb which supports initiatives to refresh its shopping centre.

Upgrading will take place at the public toilets on Acomb’s Front Street, Coppergate, Exhibition Square, Tanner Row and those at the car parks on Nunnery Lane and St George’s Field. Besides improvements, say the council, to the Silver Street toilets which already includes a changing place and disabled facility, an additional changing place will be built as part of the refurbishment at Union Terrace car park’s toilets.

All toilets will have unisex cubicles and have baby change facilities, say City of York Council. They add that accessibility will be greatly improved with all facilities having alarm cords for disabled users connected to a 24-hour helpline and there will be 24-hour access to all toilets. This will be controlled by gates operated by payment of a 40p fee – what is already being charged at Silver Street – while disabled users are can continue to use RADAR keys for no charge, say the council.

Besides helping offset the cost of the refurbishment, the charge will cover the cost of automatic cleaning after each use, as well as regular visits every day by a team of cleaners, and will reflect levels of use, say City of York Council.

Cllr David Levene, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “What is proposed is a significant refurbishment of our public toilets, an improvement in cleanliness standards, and much more accessible facilities for our disabled residents and visitors, all while making necessary savings.”

Charlie Croft, Assistant Director of Public Realm at City of York Council, said: “The proposals are for new toilets which will be fitted with a sensor flush, as well as a back-up flush when the user leaves the cubicle. After each user, the bowl is given a full, high-pressure anti-bacterial wash, rinse and is then air dried. They will also be fitted with a full high pressure floor and wall wash automatically operated after a maximum of ten uses. Each night, the unit is closed for a ten minute period when it goes through a deep clean, covering over 99% of the exposed surface area of the unit with an anti-bacterial mist cleaner. This is then rinsed off the surfaces after ten minutes and the toilet runs through the cleaning process. This daily schedule is also supported by locally-based cleaning teams and a mobile cleaning team. Public unisex cubicles are already widely found in the UK’s cities including Bath, Southport and Blackpool.”

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