Community Toilet Scheme Q&A
1. What is the Community Toilet Scheme?
The scheme ties in with part of our overall aim to increase footfall and trade for businesses within the town centre; provide a safer approach to providing toilet facilities and make them free of charge. It also offers substantially increased opening hours and works by participating businesses displaying a sticker in their window to show they are part of the scheme. The scheme complements public toilet facilities that continue to operate as usual at the bus station and in the Chantry Centre. All these facilities are in busy public spaces and as such have not suffered from the drug related anti social behaviour problems that were encountered at the public toilets in our car parks at George Yard and Borden Gate. It is not a cost cutting initiative.
2. What research was done to see if it would work?
The council explored innovative solutions to provide safe, accessible and free toilet facilities, and research revealed that Community Toilet Schemes were working well in other towns such as Portsmouth and Bristol where participating businesses have reported increased footfall and trade as a result.
3. Where are the disabled toilets in the scheme?
All the current participants in the community toilet scheme apart from the White Hart Pub offer facilities that are suitable for people with disabilities. There are also specific toilets for the disabled at the entrance to the Chantry Centre as well as inside the Chantry Centre, opposite Boswells.
4. Do you plan any adult changing facilities?
Test Valley Borough Council has sought to be proactive in the provision of facilities to meet people’s needs and in providing Changing Places toilet facilities within Andover. The council is in the process of delivering a Changing Places toilet facility in the Andover bus station which is due to be completed in the early part of 2019.
5. Do I have to buy something from one of the businesses participating in the scheme?
No, part of the requirements of the scheme is that people can use the toilet facilities of participating outlets without having to make any kind of purchase.
6. Why not use the George Yard toilet building as alternative accommodation such as a Visitor Information Centre?
The building at George Yard was originally constructed as a public toilet block meaning that the building would not meet the building regulations for occupational use nor could it be converted without very significant expenditure.
7. Why demolish the George Yard toilet building for car parking spaces?
The demolition of the building will enhance the visibility of and approach to the High Street from the car park as well as create additional short stay spaces in close proximity to the town centre. Once the toilets are demolished we will be seeking ideas as to any further steps that can be taken to enhance this important access to the High Street.
8. What is happening to the Bordon Gates toilet building?
Unlike the public toilets at George Yard, the building at Borden Gates was originally constructed for occupational use and was later converted in part to provide public toilets. The public toilet element of the building has recently been subdivided. Part has been used to provide accommodation for the Visually Impaired Persons organisation who operate out of adjacent premises. Plans for the use of the remaining part of that block are currently being explored.
9. How much does it cost to belong to the scheme?
Nothing – participating outlets receive an annual payment of £1,500 from the council. This amount was decided after researching the amount paid by other councils who run a Community Toilet Scheme.
10. Are you concerned that public safety around drug users will just transfer to the toilets in the scheme?
Research shows us that this has not happened in other towns operating similar schemes. This has been endorsed by our own experience during the six-month pilot scheme.
11. Where can I get information on the scheme?
Maps have been placed in all the town centre car parks directing people to the nearest toilet facilities, including those within the scheme.
Participating members all display a sticker in their windows to show that they are part of the scheme. With Costa open from 7am and The Redbridge open until 11pm, the hours of operation have increased substantially from the 8am to 6pm that the council’s public toilets were open.
Also, many of the Andover high street shops have been given a copy of the Community Toilet Scheme Map to help them direct members of the public.
12. What are the current participating businesses?
Five businesses are currently participating in the Community Toilet Scheme:
Costa (48 High Street)
Monday to Saturday: 7am to 7pm
Sunday: 9am to 6pm
Caffè Nero (11 – 19 High Street)
Monday to Saturday: 7.30am to 6pm
Sunday: 7.30am to 5pm
The Redbridge (5 Bridge Street)
Monday to Wednesday: 8am to 11pm
Thursday: 8am to midnight
Friday to Saturday: 8am to 1am
Sunday: 11am to 11pm
Café Bridge (31-33 Bridge Street)
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 2.30pm
The White Hart Pub (Bridge Street)
Monday to Friday: 10am to 11pm
Saturday: 11am to 11pm
Sunday 11am to 10pm
(Please note - this participating business does not currently offer disabled facilities)
Public toilets are also available at:
The Chantry Centre
Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5.30pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm