WORK has started on a major revamp of public toilets in Oxford.

Oxford City Council is spending nearly £450,000 on bringing its public toilets up to scratch over the next three years.

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 hygenic composite material and fitting ergonomic and 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, the city council has opted against this as they are too easy to damage.

Thanks to Mr Smith, toilets in the city centre will be given a completely new look, with fresh flowers, books and copies of the Oxford Mail’s review pages on the walls.

He said: “At last we’ll finally see if the proof is in the pudding, so it’s fantastic that work has begun.

“And please be sure to let us know what you think.”

Builders have now started work on the toilets in Florence Park which are first in line for the revamp and are currently fitting new unisex cubicles. A disabled bay and a parent and baby bay are being installed and the exterior of the block will be spruced up.

John Tanner, the city council’s executive board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said: “I am thrilled that the Florence Park toilets are getting a completely new look.

“Florence Park is one of the most popular parks in Oxford and it is important that we have quality toilets to match.

“The Oxford public has made it clear that it values the city’s toilets and it is my job to make sure they stay open and that they are welcoming for both local people and visitors.”

Once the Florence Park toilets are completed, the city council will begin work on revamping its toilets in the city centre.

Work on the toilets in Market Street, Oxford’s busiest facilities, will take place in October while the Gloucester Green toilets will be refurbished early next year.

The layout of the Market Street toilets will remain the same, but completely new fittings will be installed, while the Gloucester Green toilets will be expanded to include more cubicles for women.

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.

The council plans to refurbish all its toilets as part of the scheme.