CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Council must start spending pennies on public toilets

Camden should be leading the way when it comes to public toilets.

24 August, 2018

THE assault on a restaurant owner highlights the case for more public toilets in Camden Town.

The man was walking home with his partner in south Hampstead, when he appears to have been set upon. Residents in Camden Town – particularly in and around Harmood Street – will no doubt read the article with a mixture of fear and loathing. Several women residents recently spoke out about how they have to wash urine off their front walls every morning – and how they are regularly threatened on their doorsteps when challenging men peeing in their street.

One woman had her phone ripped from her and thrown away when she tried to take photos of the miscreants. Urinating in the street is clearly unhygienic. The lack of public toilets in Camden Town is the responsibility of the council, and, it could be argued, also the billionaire Camden Market land-owner, Teri Sagi. The lack of properly funded, properly staffed facilities is an outrage.

It is a public necessity. It isn’t just for drunks. It is also for the women with weak bladders. Men with enlarged prostates. Is this not supposed to be the age of the elderly? To rely on shops is simply not good enough.

Why can’t we dare to be more utopian, when it comes to public toilets? It feels as if many London boroughs are turning a blind eye. Camden should be inspired by its forefathers.

Was George Bernard Shaw’s great contribution to society his “socialist” prefaces and his plays including Pygmalion, the musical known as My Fair Lady. Was it his political activism or pamphleteering? Or was it the public toilet he fought to open in Parkway, Camden Town?

The women’s toilet – one of the first to be introduced in the capital – is there because the dramatist fought for it. Camden should be leading the way when it comes to public toilets.

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