Businesses in Bingley, Shipley, Saltaire and Ilkley asked to make loos public (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Businesses in Bingley, Shipley, Saltaire and Ilkley asked to make loos public
A controversial scheme dubbed “SatLav”, which involves businesses allowing the public to use their toilets, is being investigated by Bradford Council as it looks to save money providing public loos.
Council chiefs believe the service could provide an invaluable asset to anyone caught short while shopping or visiting Ilkley , Shipley , Saltaire and Bingley – and are calling for businesses to give their views.
Letters have been posted to pubs, clubs and cafes offering publicity on the Council’s website in exchange for allowing non-paying visitors to use their toilets.
Shipley Councillor Martin Love said the proposed scheme could provide a “win-win” solution for the businesses, as well as saving taxpayers money through the closure of public toilets during quiet times.
“It would allow us to reduce the hours in which the staffed toilets are manned,” he said. “The idea that they are staffed throughout the day seven days a week, 52 weeks a year is unsustainable when there will be days when nobody goes in those toilets.
“But there will be days when the staff are needed, such as when the Saltaire Festival is on and there are a lot of people in the village.
“If we can guarantee keeping them open during the busy times and let the businesses take over during the quiet times, it could be a win-win situation.”
The Council currently pays for attendants at five locations in the district.
They are in Brook Street, Ilkley, Myrtle Place, Bingley, Caroline Street, Saltaire, Market Street, Shipley, and in Central Park, Bridgehouse Lane, Haworth .
Robin Silver, a director of Salts Estates at Salts Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, was sent a letter by Bradford Council explaining its proposals.
He said: “The SatLav is to minimise the cost of the provision of public toilets by the local authority by getting businesses or even private individuals to open up their toilets, which will be listed on the Council’s website, but they do not get any financial contribution or reduction of rates.”
The planned scheme has been backed by Andy Billingham, who runs The Old Tramshed in Shipley.
However, Ellen Massarella of Massarella’s cafe bar and gallery, in Victoria Road, Saltaire, said: “I have had people just marching through the doors to use the toilet and you can see they are not customers. Also, what if the toilet gets blocked? Who will be responsible if that happens?”
Barry Cooper, of Shipley Business Watch, said the scheme could throw up problems of liability if anyone is injured while using businesses’ toilets.
Ian Bairstow, the Council’s strategic director for environment and sport, said: “As part of Bradford Council’s review of public toilet provision, we are looking at all options to ensure access to toilets.
“Obviously the consultation is in its very early stages but feedback from business owners will give us an indication whether it would be practical to give the scheme any further consideration.”
There have been other SatLav schemes, including in Westminster, London, in 2007, which uses satellite technology to guide shoppers to the nearest toilet by sending them a text on their mobile phone.