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Community Toilet Scheme to be introduced in Ashford Town Centre

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

Visitors to Ashford town centre will soon have more choice on where they can use the toilet as Ashford Borough Council, in conjunction with businesses, introduce the Community Toilet Scheme in early September.

The businesses will include County Square, Debenhams, McDonalds and Pizza Express, will be rolling out the Community Toilet Scheme in early September.

Ashford Borough Council are working to improve the provision of safe and hygienic public toilet in the town centre.

The New Rents toilets
The New Rents toilets

The scheme sees shops, cafes and restaurants working in partnership with the council to open up their facilities to the public free of charge for visitors.

The council will provide stickers for shop fronts to indicate businesses participating in the scheme and specify the type of facilities available.

Posters will be displayed around the town and there is a dedicated area on the council website www.ashford.gov.uk/community-toilet-scheme with details of participating businesses, the facilities available and their opening times.

Locations include County Square, Debenhams, Muffin Break, McDonalds, Stag Coffee, Little Tea Pot, The Phoenix, Pizza Express, Paper Duck, the Civic Centre, Ashford Gateway Plus and New Rents. More businesses also are likely to come on board in due course.

The facilities in Vicarage Lane will close as the Community Toilet Scheme is introduced into the town centre.

The New Rents toilets will remain open and will be reviewed with the new scheme in due course.

Vandalism and antisocial behaviour is a concern in these public toilets with unplanned closures and inconvenience to the public.

The public toilets currently close at 5pm, whereas businesses in the Community Toilet Scheme can keep facilities open for longer.

Maidstone Borough Council have also introduced the scheme.

Cllr Clair Bell, the cabinet member whose responsibilities include toilets, said: “The Community Toilet Scheme allows the public to have access to a wider choice of toilets across the town centre.

“Many toilets will have longer opening hours than the public toilets, and select facilities will provide disabled access and baby changing amenities.

"It is also a further step to supporting the town centre and its businesses.”

Cllr Graham Galpin, cabinet member for town centre, said: “The Community Toilet Scheme will offer safe, clean and pleasant toilets in the heart of the town centre and many of the facilities will exceed the opening hours of the existing public toilets.

“At the moment, the public toilets in New Rents and Vicarage Lane close at 5pm, whereas facilities in the Community Toilet Scheme will remain open until much later in the evening.”

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