… the Greater London Authority

January 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm 5 comments

In 2006 the Greater London Authority (GLA) had an investigation into The State of London’s Public Toilets (pdf).

4 years later the Health & Public Services Committee are holding a review.

As part of our research project Out-of-Order we responded to their call for evidence into changes since 2006. You can download our response here. It’s a cracker. (a cracker that takes a moment to load. Like, 10 seconds. It’s worth it, trust me)

Yesterday (12th January) the Committee met to discuss current provision with a range of guests. I watched it this morning via the webcast, got far too into it, and started taking minutes.

It goes on a bit too long for a blog post, so check it out via this link to an entirely paraphrased version of the committee meeting, which includes, as it goes along, my comments and answers to their rhetorical questions.

No really, do.

It was interesting, if personally a bit disappointing. But there are some seeds of ideas and I’m sure (well I’m not, but I’m hopeful) that the GLA will do lots more good things to follow on from this.

Fingers crossed.


Entry filed under: Politics. Tags: , , , , .

… OpenStreetMap … The Greater London Authority – My Response

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul Byford  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Gail,
    Thanks for going along to the meeting and taking the trouble to put your notes online; they made interesting reading. What strikes me about the whole CTS/Open London thing is that the businesses seem quite receptive and positive but the local politician sometimes lack enthusiasm and vision or just don’t seem to ‘get’ the idea. It didn’t seem as if any of them had done a great deal of homework before the meeting, but I suppose they deal with so many issues every day it’s impossible to be clued up on everything. Still, at least it’s being discussed again.
    Well done for putting in the response to the GLA. Glad you got in the point about the website and Boris claiming McDonald’s were in Open London.
    Wandsworth’s CTS is certainly growing and will soon rival Richmond’s. Pizza Express in Old York Road has put up a sign in the last few days. Shame on my own local council, Merton, which provides no public toilets and has a CTS with 2 members, both in Morden and one being the Civic Centre. And they charge twice as much council tax as Wandsworth.
    Keep on with the good fight! I may be inspired to indulge in a bit more letter-writing! All the best

  • 2. Paul Byford  |  January 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Sorry, I’ve read your post again and you didn’t go to the meeting, you watched it (thus sitting through it in any case)- I should read things properly before replying! In any case, the minutes are really useful which was the important thing I wanted to say!

    • 3. Gail Knight  |  January 14, 2011 at 11:13 am

      Hi Paul,
      Glad you liked it. I came to the same conclusion about the meeting > in some ways impressed to see GLA members discussing these things what with all the other issues they must grapple with, yet at the same time surprised at the lack of understanding; a sign perhaps that a second tier of toilet-governance is making it too complicated. The fact that some of their experts hadn’t heard of the scheme(s) until they were invited to the meeting says a lot about Open London publicity!

      Gosh – No local authority public toilets in Merton! I know they’re a voluntary provision but I assumed all councils had public toilets. Where on earth does one go?!

      • 4. Paul Byford  |  February 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm

        Merton shut their loos years ago. I remember there being toilets at Wimbledon and also Raynes Park but they have long since vanished and you just have to make do with sneaking into pubs etc, In Wimbledon there is the Centre Court Shopping Centre, which has toilets upstairs, as well as Debenhams and Ely’s (very nice, with piped music, no less!). At Collier’s Wood there is the huge Sainsbury’s/M&S complex (Open London, of course!) Anywhere else you just have to use pubs or cafes.

        They did start a CTS but gave it no specific funding and it seems to have fizzled out. The trouble is, whereas a CTS is a saving for most councils, for one that has no toilets to start with it’s an extra cost which makes it unlikely in the current awful financial situation. That said, neighbouring Sutton went from zero provision to an impressive CTS in the town centre, and apparently none of the scheme members claimed their fee so it cost nothing. Are you listening, Merton??

  • 5. Gail Knight  |  February 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    That’s impressive in Sutton!

    Speaking of which, if you like dubious CTS funding, check out Enfield: http://www.enfield.gov.uk/info/579/public_toilets/683/community_toilet_scheme/3

    ‘Tesco have declined the annual fee…’ – oh well done, very noble, but then you are a multi-national who’s on Open London, so to be expected…

    …but hang on, ASDA and M&S, in exactly the same situation, are in the other list! Does that mean they did accept the fee??!

    I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming it’s a website error :)


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