… Wandsworth – Part II
What is a public toilet?
I keep talking about local authorities as the providers of public toilets. In reality I’m not quite that naive.
For there are many ‘publicly-accessible toilets’ that do not (or may not) fall under council control, e.g.
- Shopping Centres
- Transport Hubs (Train / Underground / Bus / Port)
Here’s a sliding scale of publicly-accessible toilets that I made.
Green is public sector, blue is private sector.
By ‘accessible’ I mean mentally, or legally, more than physically (accessible is often used to describe wheelchair-accessible facilities – that’s a whole other issue). Accessible is clearly not a great word to use – suggestions are welcome… Some of the ordering is a little dubious too…
Further down the scale most of the toilets are not ‘intended’ for the general public. Including these in maps and apps rather disadvantages those people who don’t wish to ask favours or blag it. Not really inclusive design…
My earlier map of the London Borough of Wandsworth toilets showed the council’s Superloos (marked in yellow) and Community Toilet Scheme (blue), but now it has all of the other publicly-accessible toilets too. This has added nearly 20 extra loos, more than some councils have in the first place!
Where did these extra toilets come from?
A few are in Battersea Park, in the north of the Borough (green). The park’s toilets are not on the council website (or data) because they’re managed by the Friends of Battersea Park, I think.
But what do we care who manages Battersea Park toilets, as long as our complaints (and compliments!) get to the right person. The same goes for the 3 toilets found in train stations (red) and 2 in shopping centres (purple).
The London Borough of Hillingdon are setting a good example. They may not have much info on their website but they do produce a nice toilet map (pdf) – which covers Superloos, Train and Tube Stations, Shopping Centres and Libraries.
What they also don’t cover though is Open London. The Greater London Authority (the Mayor etc) have set up this scheme with some national retailers, allowing anyone in London to use the customer toilets in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis without being a customer.
This information hasn’t been adopted by any of the London Boroughs when publicising their Public Toilets or Community Toilet Schemes. In Wandsworth that’s another 9 loos… (in pink)
It’s a common complaint that there aren’t enough public toilets, not least because so many have been shut down.
But sometimes… maybe there are? If only we were told where they are.