Appeal to private firms open their loos for public convenience

A new scheme to get businesses to open up their toilets to the public has been rolled out in Amber Valley. The Community Toilet Scheme allows people to freely use the toilets at local businesses without having to buy goods or services.

Three businesses have so far signed up to the scheme, which is now operational in Somercotes. QualitySolicitors Chapman & Chubb on Nottingham Road, and the Somerlea Community Centre in Sherwood Street are the first to join the scheme, in which businesses receive more than £700 a year to open their toilets to members of the public. New signage directing people to the toilets has also been installed as part of the scheme. The toilets would remain open throughout the normal business hours of participants, and would be maintained and cleaned by the businesses. Subway takeaway in Belper has also signed up to the scheme and will open its toilets in March.

The ideal business for this scheme are those where the public already have access to toilets, such as cafes, pubs and chemists, as customers. Businesses will receive £600 + VAT per year to participate. The scheme comes as the Council considers moves to close many of its frequently vandalised public toilets throughout the Borough, which were part of the cost cutting and value for money measures announced early in 2011, to meet its financial challenges. 

The Council is still inviting expressions of interest from the parish councils, with a view to taking on some of the 14 public toilets it currently owns and maintains in Amber Valley. So far, there has been little interest in taking on any toilets, so the Council is considering other ideas and suggestions before a decision is made about the future of public toilets in Amber Valley later this year.

Councillor Jack Brown MBE, Cabinet Member for Green and Thriving Places to Live said: "I would appeal to businesses throughout Amber Valley to open their loos to the public. The scheme would mean that the public receive clean, accessible, and safe public toilets. It could represent good marketing opportunities attracting potential customers earning extra income and would provide a worthwhile and valuable service to the community. We want to provide clean and decent toilets that can be maintained on a regular basis at an affordable cost to the taxpayer. We appealed to Parish Councils to take on the toilets but, disappointingly, we've had little response. We simply cannot sustain a system which subsidises some of our toilets which are hardly used, but often vandalised causing even greater cost, and we hope that we get enough interest to provide a much better value alternative."

Toilets at Somerleas Community Centre in Sherwood Street and QualitySolicitors Chapman & Chubb in Nottingham Road, Somercotes were available from 1 December 2011.

Aileen Chapman from QualitySolicitors Chapman and Chubb said:

''As a community based business I am delighted that we can help the local community in this way. The scheme fits well with my firm's own philosophy of being approachable and accessible to all.''

If you are a business owner and want to get involved in the scheme anywhere in the Borough please contact Sharon Thomas on
01773 841570

Notes to editors:

A photo opportunity is available on request with one of the participants. 

The 14 sets of public toilets in Amber Valley cost in the region of £50,000 to maintain and operate each year, that's approximately £3,500 per toilet, on average. Some of our toilets are used as little as 30 times in a week with the more popular ones receiving 163 visits each week. We estimate each visit costs on average £1 and as much as £5 in the less well used toilets. Other local authority areas, which run similar schemes, are Aberdeen Council, Weymouth & Portland, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and City of Westminster, amongst others.

For further information please contact Luke Barrett Communications Manager on 01773 841 655 or email


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