Posted: 30.03.21 at 14:26 by Sam Petherick
Temporary toilet blocks have been installed on Richmond Green and the riverside.
They have been introduced as Richmond Council seeks to avoid the scenes of last spring and summer.
Anti-social behaviour and public urination were common complaints – so much so that Green residents explored the possibility of paying of ‘private police force’ to work in the area.
The availability of toilets has been a hot topic in Richmond. The only ‘traditional’ public toilets in the town centre are inside the railway station and one toilet at the Old Town Hall.
Visitors can also spend a penny in any shop or pub signed up to the council’s Community Toilet Scheme, but many of these are currently closed with the country in lockdown.
Richmond Council said: “During the first lockdown, the borough saw a rise in anti-social behaviour as a result of the good weather and closure of pubs, bars, and restaurants. Richmond Council held a series of public meetings to listen to resident concerns and determine how best to tackle these issues, especially concerns of public urination.
“The council opened all public toilets within its control, increased the payment to businesses who joined the Community Toilet Scheme, and worked with local businesses to remind them to ensure that the sale of alcohol was carried out responsibly. In addition, Covid Marshals worked alongside the police to inform and educate revellers on appropriate and safe behaviour.
“Despite this, residents on Twickenham Green, Richmond Riverside and Richmond Green found that their property was still a target for those looking to relieve themselves.
“It is hoped that the temporary facilities will provide respite for those in the local area, provide facilities for what we envisage will be an increase in visitors, and encourage those visitors to Richmond and Twickenham to be responsible and respect our borough.”
Cllr Julia Neden-Watts is chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Services Committee on Richmond Council.
She said: “We have worked really hard to try and get people to understand and comply with the rules. That includes both residents and businesses. Throughout the pandemic it has been incumbent on us all to play our part.
“Whilst the majority of residents have abided by the restrictions and made sacrifices to make sure we all stay safe, a small number of selfish people have made the lives of people who live in Richmond and near Twickenham Green extremely unpleasant, urinating and defecating on or near their homes.
“We have always been clear that temporary toilets are very expensive, and not a long-term solution. However, as the restrictions are still going to be in place for some months, we need to make this investment for the sake of our residents and those who wish to enjoy our open spaces responsibly.”
The temporary toilets will be serviced five times a week, including a deep clean, the council said.
“Each facility would also have an attendant present for eight hours a day, to ensure social distancing and regular cleaning,” the authority said.
“Accessible facilities will be provided in two of the three sites with the third site proposed close to existing disabled toilet provision.”
Businesses are paid up to £1,200 a year to participate by opening their toilets up to non-paying customers.
You can see if a shop has registered to provide its toilets to the public because there will be a sticker in the window.