Why pay-as-you-pee is the way to go


Wilmslow Town Council (WTC) sound like an admirable bunch to me. They are certainly doing a better job representing residents than Cheshire East who run with the hare but vote the hounds then insist there was nothing they could do.

In fact there are so many issues where they deny responsibility e.g. invading the Green Belt, ludicrous £300K pay-offs, etc I wonder why we need them at all. Apart from spending taxpayers' money nothing appears to be in their remit.

WTC on the other hand seem to have their finger on the pulse and represent voters fairly without the double-dealing we get from CEC. As far as I see they have used their limited budget carefully (maybe they still remember who's money it is?).

There is however something on the horizon that troubles me and it's incumbent of me to explain.

Suppose, just suppose you were shopping in the centre of Macclesfield and needed to use a public toilet where would you go? There are perfectly situated public toilets on Churchill Way and Park Green but they are both closed and have been for some time.

If you happen to be in Prestbury you will spot the public toilets right-slap-bang in the centre of the village. They could not be more convenient except... they are also closed.

All these facilities are in busy locations with a constant stream of pedestrians and traffic. Short of placing them outside a police station they could not be better monitored. I shall leave it to your imagination to determine why they are all closed.

Of course people need to use the loo and it is a massive inconvenience if you have to wander around town looking for one that is open to the public.

There are perfectly good facilities at the Styal end of The Carrs that have been closed forever.

So, when WTC plan to spend £100K on a new toilet block at the opposite end of The Carrs it makes me nervous. They are under pressure to resolve the toilet issue, I get that, but I can't see why the fate of this new convenience will be any different than all the other bricked-up facilities scattered throughout the borough.

Pay-as-you-pee rental toilets aren't the best but they do serve the purpose. The £78K WTC must contribute to this new scheme is a lot out of their limited budget. If it ends up like all the other loos (and I don't see any obvious reason why it won't) it will just be another embarrassing waste. (Note: I avoided money down the pan clichés).

A toilet facility may be needed but will it avoid all the usual pitfalls that beset public loos...?

We can but cross our legs and hope.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of wilmslow.co.uk.

Barlows Beef, Public Toilets, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pete Taylor
Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 11:19 am
Vic, they tried that back in 2010 but it didn't pan out!

Angela McPake
Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 11:59 am
Vic- you did well to avoid toilet related humour. As Pete has proved it is difficult to resist!

WTC have obviously considered the risks around the toilet and we are trying hard to mitigate those. It will be a paid for facility ( v hard to resist a comment about 'spending a penny' at this point!), both to help cover maintenance costs and also because it reduces the likelihood of vandalism.

The toilets will automatically lock in an evening- it isn't dependent on someone remembered to lock them- again, with the aim of reducing damage and any unsavoury activity that might occur.

The inclusion of a kiosk is also because it means we will have someone based on site a lot of the time a toilet is open.

We are building the toilet at that end of the park as it is where the majority of the users are, particularly those with small children.

All that may not be enough to stop it going the way of other CE owned toilets in the area, but we are hopeful, based on the expert advice we have had, that it should make a significant difference. None of the toilets you mention had those levels of 'protection'.

We are very aware this is the largest capital spend we have made with residents money so are keen to spend it wisely and in as risk free way as we can.

As has been captured on here several times, residents have strong views both ways on this issue but we believe the is the best solution.

Thanks do your positive comments on WTC.

Cllr Angela McPake
Martin Watkins
Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 1:52 pm
Just to say Vic that we are going over ground we have walked before. The town centre toilets were closed because of cost and because there are alternatives close by in shops, cafes, pubs etc all who are happy for their toilets to be used. There are no alternatives as the playground area of the Carrs. Interestingly, given the type of "superloo" photograph used in this article, they cost to rent not less than £26000 per year which when divided by 20p represents a lot of pee by a lot of people to justify that sort of expenditure (expressed in p.)

Cllr Martin Watkins
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 31st August 2016 at 1:06 pm
Well done to all for your rugged resistance to toilet puns and cliches.
I really hope this scheme does work. It will be the first one I know if that has but I know it's needed.
Maybe I'll attend a WTC meeting (bums on seats and all that)
Sorry...really sorry about that it was a moment of compulsive madness.
Good on you WTC It's worth another attempt.
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 31st August 2016 at 4:44 pm
Seems we live in a Society where the law abiding majority suffer because of the antics of a minority ( vandals). Hope this works out for us.
David Scott
Saturday 3rd September 2016 at 12:39 pm
Martin you say Vic is going over ground we have walked before.
In my opinion he is right to do so. The toilet facilities in
the town are inadequate . You claim the toilets were closed due to cost and that alternative facilities are provided by pubs, bars, etc.( I have previously ask you for this list but you seem reluctant to provide this information).
Also these facilities might be findable by pedestrians but what about drivers in the area, with so few parking places.? . Would not a couple of portaloo
In the car parking areas solve this problem. The cost would be minimal.