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Pop-up urinal to address town centre problems
Stroud is to be the first town in Gloucestershire and only the eighth in the UK to install a pop-up urinal in an attempt to combat the nuisance of urinating in shop doorways.
Councillor Nigel Cooper, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Environment, Rural Affairs and Licensing explained: "Urinating in shop doorways is a recognised problem throughout the country. Whilst it is an offence to urinate in public, it still happens. It is quite disgusting and very upsetting for businesses in the town who have to clean up the mess every weekend. Up until now, we as a council, have been unable to do anything about it."
Urinating in public is predominantly a male phenomenon. The Urilift is a stainless steel structure housing three urinals, which, during the daytime, is hidden underground, but in the evening it is raised up by remote control so that it can be used by night-time revellers. It has its own water supply and waste pipe so that it can be kept hygienic with regular, automatic flushing. It is sited on King's Parade - close to the taxi rank where people have a tendency to congregate at night and in the early hours of the morning.
Karen Sands, manager of M&Co (formerly Mackays) added: "Initially I was a little concerned about it being right outside our shop display - but that really won't be an issue as it is underground during the day. We regularly have people urinating in our doorway and even through our letterbox, so this will be a welcome feature in addressing the problem. Traders in Stroud have had to suffer for much too long. I look forward to not having to deal with the mess in the future."
The town of Colchester unveiled its first Urilift just a couple of months ago and has found that it is regularly used and has been well received by the public.
Councillor Cooper added: "I'm aware that people are already criticising the Urilift even before it has been opened, but they need to be aware that we are not encouraging people to urinate in public - we are in fact, discouraging them from urinating in people's doorways. I suggest that the critics wait, and we all see how this solution has an impact on anti-social behaviour. If it addresses the problem as well as we think it will, we may see another one, including a variant for females - the Urigienic."
Unlike many councils who are closing public conveniences, Stroud District Council is committed to improving its toilet facilities, winning British toilet awards over the last two years for its fully refurbished, state of the art toilets in Berkeley, Stonehouse and Painswick. The council is committed to refurbishing its other toilets to the same standard.
There are eleven Urilifts installed in the UK (Reading has two, Westminster has two, Colchester, Taunton, Newquay has three, Durham, and Belfast), however a Urigienic has yet to be installed.
Stroud will be the first town in Gloucestershire, and only the second market town to install a Urilift (the first being Colchester).
The installation of the Urilift has followed a 2-year consultation process with Stroud District Council, HSBC, M&Co (formerly Mackays), Stroud Chamber of Trade, Stroud Town Council, Stroud Concordat, the Civic Society and Gloucestershire County Council.
Stroud town centre, like the majority of towns, does not currently have 24hr toilet facilities as problems with vandalism often mean that they become unusable. Repairs following vandalism also mean that the toilets need to be closed for repairs. Stroud District Council is currently working with partners to find an alternative location to the current facilities at Bedford Street with a view to providing a 24hr disability compliant public convenience.
The Urilift and associated installation costs amount to £45,000 (broken down as £27,000 for the product and £18,000 for installation). As the structure is made of stainless steel and is very robust its lifetime should be 15-20 years - equating to a cost of only £2,000-3,000 per annum in addressing this serious problem. Maintenance costs are estimated at only £2,000 per annum.
An equivalent public convenience with just a single toilet would cost approximately £100,000 with annual maintenance costs of £10,000.
: 31/01/2007 11:09:21
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