Portable toilets an eyesore spoiling Sheffield’s Peace Gardens, say residents

This is the face of public toilets in Sheffield city centre, in 2021.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 8:10 am

The row of plastic blue portable toilets have been in place behind metal wire fencing for five months, next to two of Sheffield’s most well known landmarks, the Town Hall and the Peace Gardens, on Pinstone Street.

But for many Sheffielders, it is time for them to go to restore the appearance of one of the city’s most iconic areas.

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Portable loos outside Sheffield Town Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

Resident Peter Wingfield, from Gleadless, told The Star: “My wife and I made a rare visit to the city centre yesterday and were amazed to see that we now have Portaloos situated at the side of the magnificent Town Hall in front of the beautiful Peace Gardens. What is happening to our city?”

The Star asked visitors to the city centre their views – and most agreed.

Janice Gamble, from Oughtibridge, said she had noticed them while walking through the city centre.

She said: “It’s not a good look. I think it detracts from what is behind it. I think there should be toilets but there should be some proper ones, but I suppose that’s not likely as there’s need to be someone to look after them.”

Portable loos outside Sheffield Town Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

James Young, visiting Sheffield from Mexborough, said he thought if they were useful and there was no other toilet then he was happy to see them there.

But friend Liza Isaeva, a student at Hallam University, said she would sooner there were other toilets.

John Parker, from Pitsmoor, said they would be handy if you needed a toilet. But he added: “They don’t look nice. The Peace Gardens look nice, but those just make it look like someone’s been doing building work and left them behind.”

Tourists George Efstathiadis and Alex Michael were not impressed by the loos.

George said: “There’s a need for public toilets, but could they not be such an eyesore?”

Alex added: “It’s necessary, but not smart, and they’ve obviously spent a lot of money on making this area nice.”

There were once public toilets in front of the town hall, but those were closed and are now a bar.

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.

Sheffield Council says it is currently exploring other options for city centre toilets.

A council spokesman said the temporary toilets next to the Peace Gardens were brought in to support the easing of restrictions and reopening at the end of March this year. At the time, the Government had lifted the stay at home restrictions, but many businesses with toilet facilities were still closed.

He added: “Throughout the re-opening process into July, the toilets have been well used and supported the gradual reopening of retail/restaurants etc.

“They’ve also supported increased city centre footfall for events such as Tramlines Fringe and Sheffield by the Seaside.

“It’s made sense to keep them operating over the summer while we explore other public toilet options with the Sheffield BID.”

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper. Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor