Archive for February, 2012
Did you know there’s a ‘Public Toilets Suitable For All‘ e-petition on the Government’s official website? I’ve put a link on the right if you wish to sign.
It calls for a change to the law so that local authorities are legally required to provide public toilets.
(at the moment they ‘can’ provide them, but they don’t have to).
For a long time I’d gone off this idea. The argument against this (that I’ve heard, at least) is that local authorities are more responsive to local demands than national government interference and being forced to provide something can be seen within local government as a bureaucratic burden, or a distraction, from the real work of providing services.
Translation: What’s the point?
I’m out of ideas with this public toilet open data.
It’s been fun, but we’ve got no money and I’m feeling pretty despondent that we’ll find funding.
It’s not cheap doing research (though not expensive either? It’s all relative..) – we’d need somewhere in the tens-of-thousands for our research centre to do another year’s work (including development) – the idea being that with another year we could develop it to a point where it was tempting for someone else to take on, ‘sustainable’ even. However the general opinion seems to be that it’s a great idea but someone else should be paying for it.
In August 2010 I wrote to my local MP to huff and puff about the previous Government’s lack of response to a 2007-08 Communities and Local Government Select Committee into public toilets.
She asked the Department of Communities and Local Government to respond to my concerns, and Parliamentrary Under Secretary of State Andrew Stunell MP replied. His reply can be read here. It was not encouraging.
So, as something of a last resort (although I’m now not sure why I haven’t done this before? Cynicism, at a guess..) I’ve replied to Mr Stunell to let him know what we’ve been up to since then and that there’s a ‘Good Idea’ up for grabs if he fancies it.
Dear Mr Stunell,
In Autumn 2010 you replied by mail to my letter about public toilets (via my local MP Jane Ellison).
I would like to let you know about the work that we have been doing since receiving your reply, developing public toilet open data and ‘The Great British Public Toilet Map’ (http://greatbritishpublictoiletmap.rca.ac.uk). I would also like to ask for your assistance.