July 7, 2021 11.59 am

Opposition calls in controversial closure of Lincoln public toilets

Leaders say they look forward to the meeting

Opposition councillors at the City of Lincoln Council have called in leaders’ plans to close some of the city’s toilets to save £82,000 per year.

The authority’s Labour-led executive voted last week to approve controversial plans to close some public toilets in a bid to save £82,000 a year — despite concerns from local residents and businesses.

However, Conservative leaders have now asked for the proposals to be brought before the full council for a full review.

Under the proposals:

  • The authority will close the Victorian urinals at The Lawn, on Union Road and at Newport Arch
  • Facilities at Lucy Tower and South Park will open for special events only
  • Westgate car park’s toilets will only allow access via radar key, and during special events such as the Christmas Market, or Steampunk Festival
  • The bus station facilities along with toilets on Tentercroft Street, Castle Square, Hartsholme Country Park and Boultham will remain open
  • Sincil Street’s ladies toilet will be replaced with a new “modern, unisex” facility within plans to refurbish the Cornhill Market approved last week

Conservative party leader Councillor Thomas Dyer said his party believed there had not been adequate attention paid to a public consultation prior to a final decision made or any consultation on the final proposals.

He said there were other places the savings could be made – particularly in internal management – before frontline services were slashed.

Leader of the Conservatives at City of Lincoln, councillor Thomas Dyer. Photo: Sean Strange

He added there needed to be a full equality and diversity impact assessment to “understand fully the impact on both elderly and vulnerable individuals”.

“We don’t believe they’ve taken into account all of the relevant considerations and therefore greater detail needs to be provided.

“The executive needs to confirm what decisions they have made and why.

“We also want the executive to open up the final decisions to full public consultation.”

“We genuinely think there are savings to be made, internally before you start cutting frontline services like public conveniences.

“The City Council’s got a revenue budget of £12 million pounds a year, there are better places to find savings.”

A map showing the distance between public toilets in the city. Red are those which are closing and blue are those to be retained. | Image: City of Lincoln Council

Cllr Bob Bushell, Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place at City of Lincoln Council, said: “The decision to make changes to the city’s toilet provision was made to save money following a decade of austerity and cost-cutting from central government,” he said.

“We simply no longer have the funds to continue running some of our services to the level we have done in previous years.”

He said the council was making savings across a “whole range of services” to balance its budgets and said the council always consulted with affected user groups “as we did in this case”.

Councillor Bob Bushell, City of Lincoln Council’s Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place.

“It was clear from the consultation we conducted that amendments to our original proposals were required, to enable those with a medical condition to have access to the disabled toilets at Westgate – which we have made possible by keeping these facilities open.

“We have also agreed to conduct further consultation with community and disability groups about our planned upgrade to the RADAR key system to ensure the chosen system works well for all.”

Councillor Bushell said the remaining toilets, along with the Central Market plans, would provide enough to “serve the needs of shoppers and tourists alike.”

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