Sheffield to be left with just two public toilets under new plans

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
Have your say

Just two public automated toilets will be left in Sheffield if new council plans to close another five across the city go ahead.

The city council has announced it is running a consultation on the proposals to shut such facilities at Angel Street in the city centre, Birley Moor Road in Frecheville, Holme Lane in Hillsborough, Staniforth Road in Darnall and on Devonshire Green in the city centre.

The council says the toilets are only used on average five times a day, and in the case of Birley Moor Road, it was used just 357 times in a whole year.

Changes are proposed because the toilets are currently linked to the council’s advertising contract, which covers maintenance costs but is expiring from January.

Now the council must consider how to replace the facilities at an estimated maintenance cost of £20,000 per toilet, per year.

People pay either 10p or 20p to use the toilets but the council claims the average cost per use works out at just under £10, and at Birley Moor Road it is over £56.

If the closures go ahead, the only public council-run automated toilets outside of parks in Sheffield will in the lay-by on the A6102 at Deepcar junction, while there are plans to create a public toilet facility with full disabled access at Hillsborough precinct as there is said to be a need in that area.

Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “On the face of it, it does not make economic sense to run a public toilet facility that is so unpopular that it costs more than £56 each time someone simply wants to use the loo.”

She added: “We know that public toilets are an essential facility and we will be ensuring that, if these automated toilets are closed, there is other provision where people need it.

“However, in these times of austerity, it is simply not cost effective to keep running toilets which, in some cases, aren’t even used as often as once a day.

Information obtained by The Star’s Your Right To Know campaign last year showed almost all the city’s 29 public on-street toilets from a decade ago have been sold, closed or demolished.

Just nine remain in use, and three in Bradfield, Ecclesfield and Chapeltown are run by parish councils.

Shoppers have said the lack of loos puts them off visiting the city centre.

The consultation runs until Sunday October 18.