Monday, 10 August 2020

Public toilets re-open but with restrictions

THE public toilets at the Leichlingen Pavilion in Mill Meadows, Henley, will be back open from tomorrow (Saturday).

Visitors have been unable to use the facilities since they were closed on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks.

Councillors agreed to end the closure period at a virtual meeting of the recreation and amenities committee on Tuesday.

Town clerk Sheridan Jacklin-Edward said: “Our aim is to open the toilets, playgrounds and outdoor gyms on July 4, in line with government easing restrictions.

“That is our aim and hopefully that is what we will be able to do but that is only if we can do it safely. If it looks like certain things won’t be in place then we will have to keep them closed but only for a couple of days. It is a tricky balance because we are very keen to open them but we want to do so safely.”

South Oxfordshire District Council operates tje toilets in the King’s Road car park, Greys Road car park and opposite the station, which have all been kept open.

The town council received a number of requests for the toilets in Mill Meadows to be re-opened following an increase in visitors.

The temporary closure has resulted in some people using the disabled toilet and signs have been placed at the entrances to the park, advising that the nearest facilities are located at the station.

New measures will be implemented by the council to ensure the toilets are safe for people to use. These include:

•A one-in/one-out policy, with queuing outside the toilet area and signage.

• The installation of no-touch hand sanitisers, either inside the toilets or on the wall in the canopy area, for use on entering the facilities.

• Installation of no-touch soap dispensers, in the ladies’, family and disabled toilets, as the gents’ already has automated hand/washer driers.

• Additional cleaning of toilets, with two extra inspections on top of the regular morning clean, which will cost an extra £1,215 per month.

•Reduced opening hours, to be confirmed depending on staff availability

To cover the expense, the council agreed to take £5,000 from the unused budget for band concerts this summer. This will allow the purchase of signs and three months of two additional cleans per day.

Councillor Laurence Plant said: “King’s Road and Greys Road have managed to stay open.

“There is no signage about queueing and they are not operating with one-in/one-out. I know that our responsibility is to be as safe as possible but do we need to go through it all, or is there leniency?”

Councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs the committee and is also a district councillor, replied: “There was a big emphasis on the fact that they hoped people would police themselves and be sensible when they were using the toilets. I don’t think that is quite satisfactory for a town council.”

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