Croydon Council want businesses to rent out their toilets to the public and display signs to alert passers-by that they can relieve themselves in those very spots. The badness of this idea starts in the very notion of 'renting' toilets - after the Joe Orton proposal in Islington, such tomfoolery around public conveniences should surely have been nipped in the bud but dammit, bizarre and badly thought out plans for the public's full bladder still continue.
In a transparent effort to save money and resources, Croydon Council has proposed a way of offering more toilets to the public without having to build any new ones. Since the closure of public toilets in the Phoenix Centre had to close due to vandalism, drug addicts and drunks, there has been a desperate need for replacement lavatories. Sometimes very desperate.
Rather than invest resources for a new set, chief executive Jon Rouse has suggested offering local businesses sums of money to open up their exisiting facilities to non-paying customers with signs alerting people to what's available. £600 a year for the extra cleaning and maintenance is deemed sufficient.
The businesses chosen for the scheme will be selected on a first come-first served basis.
Because there will be an inevitable stampede of shop owners gagging to have the shoppers, football fans, commuters, teenagers, vandals, druggies and bulimics traipse in and out of their conveniences, won't there? Or perhaps just gagging at the thought. The scheme apparently works in Richmond and is the model Croydon's proposal is based upon but we suspect Richmond council pays for new gold-plated toilets to be installed every two weeks and keeps all the Molton Brown handwash bottles topped up for free for each participating vendor. Can Croydon do that?