Labour Councillors have called on Westminster Council to take back the public toilets privatised last year after they were unilaterally closed by Carlisle, a company owned by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft, following a contract dispute with the Council.
Public toilets that are closed include those in Paddington Street, James Street, Broadwick Street, Queensway and Maida Hill.
Residents have contacted Councillors to say;
“Just spoke to a resident at Luxborough Tower overlooking Paddington Gardens Park.” Why are there so many people peeing in the Park?””
“The public toilets (no turnstiles i.e. free) at Queensway j/w Westbourne Grove have been closed now for weeks and the stairs down to both sides are filthy. Prior to that the toilet had closed at around 6 pm rather than 00.30am, as they used to be before the ‘sell off’. Bayswater Road toilets opposite j/w Queensway (fee paying) are still in operation I believe.”
“Why is Westminster Council one of the richest boroughs in the country with the lowest council tax in the country closing public toilets? Because it has handed over responsibility to a company who have to operate on the income they get from Turnstile toilets. This fell £1.5 million short last year. So the well run and heavily used toilets by Paddington St gardens remain shut until Westminster come up with a funding system that works for the providers. They don’t anticipate an early settlement and have sacked the staff. This facility is well used by park visitors, kids using the playground, shoppers in the High St, but it is also a haven for taxi drivers who are one of the biggest users. It also has a disabled wc accessible by Radar key so disabled people who are given instructions where to find facilities are being denied access”
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Closing public toilets across Westminster is an absolute disgrace. We call on Westminster Council to bring these toilets back in to public control urgently so that residents, visitors, shoppers, tourists and cab drivers can get their free public toilet service back.”