On the 11th June 2011, the Sydenham Assembly voted to accept the Town Centre Steering Group’s plan to trial a Community Toilet Scheme to replace the old toilet in Station Approach, which will be demolished when Station Approach is refurbished.
Three businesses in Sydenham Road have agreed to take part. They are the Kente and Blue Mountain cafes, and the Two Halfs pub. Please note: the scheme has not started yet – signs similar to those below will be displayed in their windows when the scheme is active.
What is a community toilet scheme?
It is a partnership between a local authority, and businesses, where businesses such as pubs, shops and cafes agree to allow the public to use their toilets during the hours the business is open, without the need to buy buy goods or services. Participating businesses display stickers in their windows. The Council pays a fee to the business. The Council publicises the scheme, often by a map and list on their website, leaflets or additional street signage. The Council may inspect the toilets to make sure that they are clean and well maintained. Businesses retain control of who they allow to use their toilets.
Currently, there are no community toilets in Lewisham, though eleven other London boroughs have schemes, and there are many schemes outside London. Bromley has just extended its successful scheme to cover Beckenham, Hayes and Biggin Hill shopping areas.
If the pilot scheme is successful, the costs of the scheme may be “mainstreamed”, and it could be extended to other borough shopping areas.
A Community Toilet Scheme has many advantages over conventional public toilet provision
Advantages for users
Toilet schemes provide an increased number of safe, clean and pleasant toilets, in good condition, and in a greater variety of locations. Schemes are helpful to shoppers, not only to parents or carers with small children, but to elderly people, and to those whose work takes them away from their work base. Accessible toilets help disabled people to shop and travel more easily. They promote social inclusion, and a cleaner street environment.
The range of businesses participating will mean that some facilities can be provided from 7.30 a.m. till 11.00 p.m.
Advantages for businesses
Increased footfall can lead to increased sales, and to goodwill. In both Bromley and Richmond, local businesses found the scheme increased trading. It can encourage shoppers to stay in the shopping street for longer. Publicity for the scheme acts as advertising for the businesses. If agreed, Sydenham’s scheme will pay £800 a year to participating businesses, paid quarterly. Businesses retain control of who uses the toilets.
Advantages for the Council
Providing community toilet schemes allows them to provide better facilities at lower cost than do conventional public toilets. Schemes are recommended by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Mayor of London.
Advantages for Sydenham
Our nearest public toilets will soon be the one at Home Park, and those in Wells Park. These are far from the main shopping area, unstaffed and can be intimidating to use. The Town Centre Steering Group is certain that a community toilet scheme will provide a more pleasant option.
To read further about community toilet schemes, see http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/1064520.pdf
To read about Richmond’s scheme, run successfully since the late 1990s, see