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First flush of vandal-proof loos to reopen
OXFORD’S busiest public toilets are set to be back open again next month.
The Market Street toilets have been undergoing a revamp as part of Oxford City Council’s £450,000 plan to refurbish all its public facilities.
City council workers have been stripping the Market Street toilets bare and replacing every feature after they were closed to the public in November.
City councillor John Tanner, board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said: “If we don’t update our toilets from time to time they become down at heel and that is bad for shoppers and for tourists.
“Oxford residents have made it clear to us that they value their public toilets and want to see them open, clean and of a decent quality.
“It is going to be early February before we finish work at the Market Street toilets and get rid of those temporary ones, but it is all going according to plan.”
The authority has been working with the Oxford Mail to find out what people want from their public toilets, with our features editor Jeremy Smith being appointed city toilet ‘tsar’.
As a result of the suggestions which flooded in, the city council will be replacing the existing stainless steel fittings in all of its toilets with a hygienic composite material and fitting vandal-resistant dryers as well as providing better quality soap.
Better lighting will be installed, as well as hooks for bags and coats, and easy-to-use locks.
Despite calls for a return to ceramic fittings though, the city council has opted against this as they are too easy to damage.
Toilet tsar Jeremy Smith said: “As one of the greatest cities in the world – and make no mistake, Oxford is – we should now also be able to treat everyone who lives here, as well as all those who visit from around the globe, to a public convenience that isn’t just a municipal facility but in fact a statement of city pride, county style and international envy.
“Frankly, I can’t wait.”
Builders have also been carrying out similar work at the Florence Park toilets since September but work is still being carried out.
The Gloucester Green toilets will be refurbished early this year.
The city council has yet to confirm the exact opening dates.
Mr Tanner said: “At Gloucester Green we want to see toilets which recognise that this is a key arrival point for people coming to Oxford.”
The city council owns and operates 24 public toilets across the city, as well as running a community toilet scheme which sees nine businesses in the city centre make their toilets available to the public.
All of the city council’s toilets will be refurbished as part of the scheme.