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Tougher laws needed to stop public urination in Camden Town, say residents

Homeowners consider anti-urine paint that "splashes liquid back towards the source"

09 August, 2018 — By William McLennan

Neighbours have taken to photographing offenders 

TOUGH laws to prevent public urination are needed, residents of Camden Town have said as they revealed they have been forced to regularly disinfect the walls of their homes and even considered applying highly repellent “anti-urine paint”.

Nicola Preddy said she regularly came home at night to find people urinating against her home in Harmood Street, off Chalk Farm Road. She said: “The government needs to pass sterner laws, have a public advertising campaign informing would-be urinators that it is against the law and make the penalties and fines horrendous.”

Ms Preddy, who has lived in Camden Town for more than 20 years, has considered applying “anti-urine paint” – which is marketed as providing a protective coat that will “splash the liquid back towards the source”.

She added: “I have to disinfect and clean the pavements. In the heat it’s been horrendous, it stinks. I shouldn’t have to do that.”

Ms Preddy provided a picture to the New Journal, taken by a neighbour last month, that captures three men urinating against her home.

“Thank God for them I didn’t catch them,” she said. “I would have taken their heads off.”

Ms Preddy’s neighbour, Anna Meyer, said she regularly confronts offenders. “I approach them and say ‘close your trousers and get a move on’.”

Some apologise, she said, while others respond violently. In one case, she took a photograph of a group of men who stepped out of a limousine to relieve themselves in the street.

“I approached them and one of them took my phone and threw it in a building site,” she said.

After calling the police, the men “were restrained and one of them spent the night in a cell”.

The case eventually went to court, Ms Meyer said, adding: “He got a fine, but the effort it took was just a joke.”

She said school children needed to be taught “it’s not acceptable to piss in the street”, adding: “It needs to be going to ground level, even at schools, going back to basics. Then we need signage. And then enforcement.”

Pat Thomas, chairwoman of Harmood Clarence Hartland Residents’ Association, said it affected many of her neighbours. “We have all had our bowl of water out, cleaning the vomit and urine,” she said.

“There wouldn’t be all this street urination if there was adequate provision, it’s quite simple.”

Responding to residents’ calls last month for festival-style portable loos to be driven into Camden Town during weekend evenings, Camden Market said a new toilet block was opened in the North Yard of the Stables Market last year.

Two more blocks will open as part of the Hawley Wharf development early next year.

A spokesman said: “We feel that we have sufficient facilities across the markets to accommodate the needs of visitors.”

Camden Council introduced new powers to tackle the problem in 2015, which gave police and council wardens the power to ability £100 fines – nick-named “wee fees”. It later announced that public toilets in Camden Town would cease being free to use as the Town Hall sought to save £260,000 per year.

A council statement said a late-night levy on venues open after midnight would help pay for new facilities. “We provide a number of temporary urinals in known hotspots in Camden on busy nights – as well as our permanent pop-up urinals in key locations.”


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