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Shoppers anger at shopping centre's 20p charge to spend a penny

Pentagon Shopping Centre toilets
Pentagon Shopping Centre toilets

Shoppers are waging a campaign to flush out charges at a shopping centre's toilets.

Chatham's Pentagon Centre has introduced a 20p fee for anyone needing to spend a penny at its modernised loos, which opened last month.

But the charge for answering a call of nature at the revamped facilities has been branded a "disgrace".

As reported by the Messenger in June, it was introduced to deter vandals and drug users from the new-look toilets - upgraded with a £200,000 government grant.

Peter Nassan, of the Medway Pensioners Forum, said: "This is a disgrace and unfair to pensioners and people with bowel problems and people with weak bladders. It is bad enough having to pay parking charges to go to the town, but now we have to pay toilet charges as well."

Ruth Joslin said she was shocked to be asked to pay to use the toilets when she visited the centre with her six-year-old daughter.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below
What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

She said: "There wasn't a huge change - the hand dryers are so high that I still have to precariously balance my daughter on the sink to dry her hands."

Sandra Fowler, of New Road, Chatham, said: "They have received a lick of paint, a re-coated floor, new toilet roll and soap dispensers. But surely the very old, stained and, in some cases, cracked washbasins could have been replaced?"

The toilets were council-owned toilets until they were handed over to the centre's management a year ago, when bosses were given £200,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency to give them a facelift.

A Medway Council spokesman said: "The Pentagon Centre are keen to maintain their toilets to the highest possible standard and to deter the anti-social elements who used to use them for undesirable activities.

"In order to help them do this, they have chosen to levy a small charge and to place barriers at the entrance to the toilets."

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