Officials at Sheffield Council say the disused ladies toilets in front of the Town Hall, near the Peace Gardens, still have parts of their old infrastructure in place – but would need money spending on them to make them usable again.
But Liberal Democrat leader at the authority, Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, believes they should be considered as a possible way of relieving what some see as a lack of public toilet facilities in the city centre.
The gents’ loos under the town hall was closed and redeveloped as a bar. But the ladies, although closed at the same time, still remain largely as they were.
The council had the power, water and waste supplies shut off to remove any health and safety risk such as standing water, and they would need extensive investment if they were to be made usable again.
It is understood one issue would be accessibility as they're below street level with restrictive stepped access.
There is currently a review of public toilet revision being undertaken by the council so that it can be factored into city centre development.
Coun Mohammed said he had recently submitted a question to the council asking about toilet facilities in the town centre.
He said: “Since Debenhams and John Lewis closed, people have said to me they are concerned about the toilet facilities they can use in the city centre. People with medical conditions, or of a certain age, can require toilet facilities at short notice.
“We have to fill the gap in facilities if we are going to attract visitors back to the city centre, and have equality.
“It is definitely important that they consider the former ladies toilets. If they have effectively been mothballed, then they could perhaps be brought back into use if there is a will, and I think they should be seriously considered unless there is an alternative close by that already has disabled access.”
Locations of public toilets in Sheffield city centre
The city has public toilets at the Millennium Galleries, the Moor Market and Orchard Square. Sheffield BID’s (Business Improvement District) LAVS (Lavatory and Ablution Venue Scheme) also encourages local businesses to allow members of the public to use their facilities.