Barlow's Beef: Who will you meet in the loo?


As a dog owner and regular user of our local parks the proposal to spend around £125K on a new toilet block in The Carrs is commendable. There is an obvious need to cater for the huge number of visitors.

To be honest, we need decent toilet facilities in all our public parks so why don't we have them?

Both South Park and West Park in Macclesfield have existing facilities but they are permanently closed. This is no penny-pinching measure by Cheshire East to cut costs but a reaction to the activities taking place therein.

Apart from rampant vandalism, they attracted drug use and other unseemly conduct. Regular park users soon learned to give these toilets a wide berth.

So what are the council to do? Employing an attendant isn't a cost effective option and without supervision the new facility will surely suffer the same fate as all the others.

The detritus of drug use in the Carrs is significant, as it is in many of our recreational facilities. A toilet in a public park eventually becomes a focal point for small-time drug dealers and users. It's certainly not a place you'd want your children to visit.

Of course there is a demand for such a facility but how do you manage it? The days of full-time park keepers are gone and I do not recall ever seeing a police officer in any of our parks.

There is very good intention from Wilmslow Town Council in this proposal but £125K of public money is a considerable sum and unless they have a management plan to keep it free from vandalism etc it will be for nothing.

Look, I'm no expert on public facilities. I only know what I've observed over years of regular walking in our public parks. Maybe WTC do have a sound plan? If so then good luck to them, we could certainly use a decent toilet facility.

If not... they may find a better use for our money.

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

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


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

Gary Barton
Tuesday 23rd June 2015 at 12:56 pm
Vic, WTC is not planning to spend as much as £125,000 - the figure is likely to be less than £100,000. You are quite right that there can be potential problems with antisocial behaviour which is something the WTC is considering carefully before any project goes ahead. Part of the plan to deal with this is to have a kiosk as part of the construction so that the toilet block will be manned during many of its hours of use. Having a rented kiosk space is also likely to generate income to go towards maintenance of the facilities. I also envisage that the facilities will be locked at night to try and minimise anti social usage.

I would be happy talk to you, Vic, about the plans we are considering and about any questions you might have about any other matters in Wilmslow.
Martin Watkins
Tuesday 23rd June 2015 at 2:36 pm
Vic, thanks for this well written and well argued "beef". Wilmslow Town Council is keen to address the concerns you raise. At the moment we are looking to provide an adequate facility which incorporates a manned kiosk (selling snacks and the like) which will also ensure a degree of supervision during opening hours. Once we have firm proposals they will be laid before our Council to approve. I am sure that everyone would wish that vandalism did not exist. I cannot promise that it will not occur but all of us could roundly condemn such acts as anti-social behaviour by the few intent on restricting or curtailing the use of facilities by the majority of us.
Jack Pink
Tuesday 23rd June 2015 at 8:05 pm
How do you stop the cottaging?
Gary Barton
Wednesday 24th June 2015 at 10:19 am
Jack, the current plans being looked at are for a single male toilet and a single female toilet (both disabled-access and baby change friendly). This will help reduce anti-social behaviour. Also, the toilets would be locked at night.
Jack Pink
Wednesday 24th June 2015 at 10:01 pm
Thanks Gary. That should help to limit it. However, after being unfortunate enough to stumble upon this type of unsavoury behaviour, I can tell you that it's not limited to the evenings. Perhaps a system that gives people just enough time to do their business before the door automatically open would work.