Councils urged against ‘excessive restrictions’ on tips and public toilets

PUBLISHED: 15:52 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:52 30 June 2020

Many of the county's public toilets have reopened. Photo: James Bass

Many of the county's public toilets have reopened. Photo: James Bass

Eastern Daily Press © 2004

The government has warned councils against “excessive restrictions” on tips and public toilets in a bid to “support outdoor hospitality” and avoid harm to public health.

Warnings over risks from increasing fly-tipping and fears of people “relieving themselves in public” have sparked the directive.

The letter, from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), was sent to councils on Sunday, June 28.

“There is evidence some councils have applied excessively tight restrictions on public access,” it stated.

READ MORE: These are the public toilets open across Norfolk and Waveney

Concerns highlighted included:

• A rise in fly-tipping

• Hygiene and hand washing

• Impact on outdoor workers, young people and those reliant on public toilets due to their health

• Equality implications

• Hot weather and the “push to support outdoor hospitality”

• And harm to public health and the environment from people relieving themselves outside

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Councils have been urged to avoid limiting pre-booked slots, to keep measures under review and extend access where safe to do so.

It stated: “This is not to condone or tolerate irresponsible or illegal behaviour, but councils have a key role in helping prevent problems thanks to municipal services.”

READ MORE: Some of Norfolk’s tips to reopen under social distancing, says council

A Great Yarmouth Borough Council spokeswoman said Great Yarmouth and Gorleston seafront and town centre toilets reopened some weeks ago, while Thurne and Scratby toilets were open and Caister Second Avenue “should be open by the end of the week”.

She added: “Winterton remain closed while refurbishment continues, though the disabled toilet is available to the public.”

And a Norfolk County Council spokeswoman said: “Recycling centres started to reopen on May 11. With 90pc open we plan to have 100pc by the end of the week.”

No booking is needed and a full service is offered, but people are asked to avoid busy periods.

Broadland and South Norfolk councils said Coltishall and Salhouse public toilets were open, while Ranworth and Reedham would open as soon as hand sanitisation units arrived.

Long Stratton and Diss toilets are both closed for refurbishment and will reopen when finished.

A West Norfolk council spokeswoman said the area’s public toilets were all now open.

Breckland council said toilets were managed by town councils.

North Norfolk and Norwich City councils did not respond to a request for comment.

READ MORE: Claims people are using town centre’s medieval alcoves as toilets as loos remain shut

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