January 26, 2021 2.19 pm This story is over 39 months old

Council looks to close toilets in bid to flush out £82k savings

But you’ll be able to pay by card

The City of Lincoln Council could close some of its public toilets in a bid to save £82,000 a year.

The authority has gone out to consultation on plans to close the urinals at The Lawn on Union Road and Newport Arch permanently, while only reopening facilities at Lucy Tower and Westgate car parks only for special events.

Under the proposals, toilet attendant jobs will be lost, while a new city-wide scheme will change access to disabled loos to be by an electronic card registered to a specific user.

Steve Bird, Assistant Director for Communities and Street Scene at City of Lincoln Council, said: “With cuts to our budgets now being necessary in many areas of the council as a result of COVID-19, including in the public conveniences service, we are looking at how best we can make savings whilst mitigating the impact on users.

“Through this consultation we are looking for the public to comment on some options under consideration.

“Although providing toilets is not a statutory duty for local authorities, we appreciate that these facilities are important in our city, not only for local residents but also for our visitor economy.

“This is why we are doing everything we can to ensure we get the best possible balanced outcome and the results of this consultation are important to us.”

The authority plans to retain toilets at the bus station, Castle Square, Tentercroft Street, Boultham Park, Hartsholme Country Park and the cemetery toilets.

Sincil Street facilities will be closed until the refurbishment of the market is completed.

They said the change to the way disability facilities were accessed was due to “some abuse of the alternative Radar key system” including damage to the facilities.

Public toilets at Tentercroft Street car park. | Photo: The Lincolnite

Access to public toilets will also be changed to take card payments as well as cash.

Sarah Loftus of Lincoln BIG said there were questions to be answered over how the disabled facilities would work for visitors to the city in order to reassure them they would be welcomed.

“How do you make visitors aware that the scheme exists and make it easy for them to have access to it?” she asked.

She added: “From a High Street perspective, good quality public toilets are really important to keep the high street alive.

“I understand if they need to close them because they become too old and they’re not good enough, and they’re going to be replaced and put something in that’s better, that’s good.

“But we saw very early on when the pandemic started and things started to open up there was a real need for the public toilets, because a lot of the cafes and restaurants were shut.”

A consultation on the proposals will take place until Sunday, February 7.

Residents can fill in the survey here.