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Canterbury City Council to consider installing French-style open-air public urinals

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Council bosses are to consider installing French-style 'pissoir' toilets to stop people urinating in the high street.

Men relieving themselves in Canterbury city centre at night-time has been a continual source of woe for shop owners and residents over the years.

Council bosses in Canterbury are considering installing outdoor urinals - like this one in Amsterdam. Picture: Istock / Jann Huizenga
Council bosses in Canterbury are considering installing outdoor urinals - like this one in Amsterdam. Picture: Istock / Jann Huizenga

Cllr Ashley Clark therefore believes the local authority should take inspiration from our continental neighbours, and set up a series of public urinals.

Deemed an "entirely practical" solution, pissoirs stand out in the open air - available for use at any time.

The Tory councillor, who previously encouraged residents to wee on their compost as a way of enriching biodiversity, says the toilets could simply be watered down with a hose.

"Looking outside the box, I'm wondering if it's worth considering what they have in France," Cllr Clark said.

"They have installed pissoirs which deal with the principal problem of that late at night.

City councillor Ashley Clark
City councillor Ashley Clark

"I know it only deals with number ones and not number twos, but number ones are the principal problem late at night. It is a major source of anti-social behaviour.

"This is something which can be cleaned very easily - it doesn't need toilet rolls and all the rest of it.

"You can simply clean it with a fire hose, it's as simple as that. That's the way the French do it, and they've been doing it for years and years.

"The biggest problem with toilets is the lack of them at night, particularly in the city centre.

"If you ask a lot of the shopkeepers in central Canterbury, they say the toilets are their doorway."

Public toilets in Canterbury Lane near Superdrug
Public toilets in Canterbury Lane near Superdrug

As it stands, there are seven public loos dotted around Canterbury, but only one is in the heart of the city.

The block next to the taxi rank near to Superdrug is open 24 hours, but its reputation for crime and drug use means some with full bladders opt for the high street instead.

Cllr Clark suggested his pissoir plan to the council's community committee on Wednesday.

Head of facilities management, Alexis Jobson, welcomed the "perfectly sensible" suggestion and said the authority will consider the option in its ongoing review of public conveniences.

However, Cllr Connie Nolan (Lab) said the urinal plan was "very male-orientated" and stated that it will not pass the council's equalities provision.

In an effort to save money, the cash-strapped council is considering closing the toilets at Sturry Road park and ride, and those in Swalecliffe Avenue at Hampton.

Doing so would help the authority retain about £40,000 per year in costs.

Further investigations into finances and what can be done to improve public loos is to be carried out this year.

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