Public toilets shortage means visitors ‘feel unwelcomed’

ehad Soliman campaigning for more public toilets in Kettering town centre
ehad Soliman campaigning for more public toilets in Kettering town centre

A campaigner says a lack of toilets means his town is not welcoming to visitors.

Jehad Soliman says an apparent dearth of facilities in Kettering since the removal of the town’s automatic toilets is a real problem for people who are caught short.

Some businesses, including supermarkets and pubs, have signed a deal with Kettering Council to provide toilets to members of the public, but Mr Soliman said many people felt they had to buy something when visiting shop toilets.

He added: “If people are going to go to businesses some people feel embarrassed.

“People in this town deserve something. If we have visitors from outside, we want people to have a good image of our town.”

In a statement, Kettering Council denied there was a shortage of toilets in the town centre, saying there were seven sets people could visit, an increase since they took away poorly used automatic toilets.

A spokesman said: “The removal of automatic toilets and the replacement with community accessible toilets has saved the taxpayer £135,000 a year, which is one of the ways we have been able to keep the level of council tax unchanged for three years, without affecting front-line services or, as in this case, while enhancing services.”

Pretending to be a visitor to Kettering, Northamptonshire Telegraph reporter Huw Silk asked people in Market Place if they could direct him to the nearest toilet.

Jess Doughty, who lives nearby, recommended one of the nearby pubs – who have not signed up to the scheme allowing free use of their toilets to people coming in off the streets.

Other suggestions included a visit to the toilets at the Newlands Shopping Centre, which now cost 20p to use, and the Royal Hotel.

Manager Jon Jones said people who came in to use the toilets was one of the hotel’s biggest problems.

He added: “We get it every day. People can be rude and just walk straight in.”