CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The council needs to sort out the problem of no public loo

01 December, 2017

Ladies’ public toilets near Camden Town station

• I WROTE to your paper on September 1 in praise of good service from Camden’s senior environmental services officer (Praise where it is due, well done to the council’s James Dunlop, September 7).

It was true that he had kept me informed about the ladies’ public toilets near Camden Town station.

Now I am writing again as I am shocked at the way the council has treated the public in this case. The ladies’ toilets closed in March and the notice stated they would be closed for nine weeks.

We were directed to use toilets that were completely out of reach for elderly ladies who were desperate. The suggested alternatives were in Kentish Town or Primrose Hill. There was no way that someone in dire need could walk that far.

These toilets were still closed when I wrote to you in September, and when I suggested to the council that they could have found suitable alternatives, for example, a portable loo or temporarily making the gentlemen’s toilets unisex, I was told neither was possible.

I was also told that ladies should ask at local pubs as that would be less intimidating than using a portable loo! Actually, it requires quite a lot of courage to go into a pub as a non-customer and ask to use their toilets.

Sainsbury’s used to have toilets, but when I asked in the store I was told they closed them due to drug-taking. Surely the council could have come to some arrangement with Sainsbury’s to keep their toilets open at least in the daytime? Who made any effort to research suitable alternative arrangements when they closed the toilets in March? No one.

I was very sad to read the letter in your paper on November 23 (Why no loo in the store?) from a lady who had an accident as she didn’t know Sainsbury’s toilets were closed and who was told to go to the public toilets. If she had been able to walk that far, she would then have seen a notice saying that she had to walk to Kentish Town or Primrose Hill.

The toilets opened for a few days in October and then closed again. The notice about them closing in March and only for nine weeks was put up again with the same inaccessible alternatives. Now even that notice has disappeared and the toilets remain closed.

This whole sorry story shows a complete lack of care by the council and an inability to empathise.

No one has really given a thought to the consequences of their actions for elderly ladies who have difficulty walking, who are desperate, and – like the lady in your letter – feel humiliated and embarrassed when the worst happens.

PENNY GAMEZ
Reachview Close
Baynes Street, NW1

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