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13 November 2014

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You are in: Oxford > BBC Oxford > Articles > The 'Bill' Board!

Bill Heine

The 'Bill' Board!

BBC Oxford's 'Silver Fox' is never short of an opinion or two. Every Monday you can read all about Mr Heine's latest musings!


Visitors and residents are often at loggerheads in Oxford; but one thing they both agree on is public toilets – there aren’t enough of them.  This week Oxford City Council’s Labour-run Executive is looking to close up to 7 more toilets.

Of course their press release puts it rather more delicately.  They are “discussing a report that will look into conducting public consultation about the Council’s public toilet provision with the aim of closing some toilets and improving others.”

The aim of this exercise is clearly financial.  They want to save some of the £385,456 maintenance budget on the toilets.

So they are going to consult you and me.  “These 27 public loos belong to the people of Oxford, not to the Labour Council, and we want to know what residents, students and tourists think before we make any decisions.”

But the big question is – will the City Council Executive Board listen to what people say?  This is a subject on which Oxford residents and visitors have spoken at length over the past 20 years on programmes like mine and in the newspapers.  They want more public toilets.  People are fed up with the lack of loos.  It’s been a constant chorus of complaint.

If the people say they want more loos will the City Council re-open some or build more?

How much money will Oxford City Council spend on a 2 month long “public consultation process”?  How many officers will be working on this and how many hours will the experience take up of officers’ time.  Who’s going to evaluate the results and how long and how much money will that take?

What do you think?  Is this a consultation worth having?

last updated: 29/06/2009 at 15:51
created: 29/06/2009

Have Your Say

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Chris from Bicester
That appears to be a rather high maintenance cost for twenty seven toilets - something in the region of £275 per toilet, per week?? What are they doing? If that's just a maintenance cost what is the total cost including operating costs (i.e. electricity costs for lighting, water rates for the water, etc - these are 'operating costs'?) Closing seven toilets will seem to save approximately £100,000 - are the council that desperate for savings? What about the 'reserves' that are locked up in 'bank accounts' - that money should be available for public services?? I think the first question before any money is wasted on consultation is why is the 'maintenance' cost so high in the first place? Anyway, what are tourists and visitors to this great city going to think if there are a few public toilets? "Come visit Oxford but keep your legs crossed" is not a very good advert. Seems to me the Council Tax bills keep going up each year, but they can't provide the same level of services? I, like all Council Tax payers, will be expecting a proportional rebate on my bill if seven toilets are closed in Oxford.

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