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My daughters and I were attending a function a couple of weeks back & thanks to a miscommunication ended up in the wrong location. Upon realising our error, we decided that a visit to the loo might be a good idea before moving on and as we couldn't find a facility in the Staines central multi-storey car park where we'd stupidly paid to park for most of the day, we decided to call in at the library next door. And while I liked that it had a mini-museum, free wi-fi, newspapers and computers, I wasn't at all impressed that it didn't have a loo! Luckily the shopping centre did, but our lengthy trek made me wonder what on earth people do when the mall is shut? And a library without a public toilet? I really can't get my head around that one!
I know I'm always banging on about toilets and how many are closing down all over the UK, causing those with weak bladders, bowel/stomach issues, pregnant women etc to stay away from the areas that don't provide these essential facilities, but I wonder at the thinking behind the closures. Yes, I know washrooms cost money to maintain, that disposables use up budget and cleaners need to be paid... then there are issues of potential vandalism and drug-taking... but time and time again, savvy local authorities have proved that good 'away from home' toilets attract the public who'll shop, eat, drink, take part in activities and pay for entertainment and with it, parking.
As well as bringing money into the area, they help it thrive - as the judges of the soon-to-be-announced Loo of the Year Awards will attest (and if you haven't yet secured your ticket to this fun event, there's a link further down the page but do be quick, as there aren't many tickets left). It crossed my mind during our hasty exit from the Staines library that whereas free wi-fi used to attract custom to a facility that offered it, so many establishments are starting to do so that soon it will become less of a draw than the possibility of being able to use the loo. Crazy, isn't it?
In today's news we report that worldwide, some 4.5 billion people are still without access to a proper toilet. And while I grumble about the UK's public toilet closures, I do realise how lucky I am not to be one of those without any facilities whatsoever.
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4th October 2018