Oxford council criticised for loo revamp

Oxford City Council has been criticised for planning to spend £450,000 giving all its toilets a luxury makeover while cutting other "vital" services.

The city council is revamping 24 public toilets over three years and decorating them to make them more attractive.

But the county council says it has got its priorities wrong doing this while also cutting services such as Dial-A-Ride for people with mobility problems.

The investment is set to be debated by the county council at a meeting later.

Flowers and books

The revamp plans include decorating the walls of the loos with famous quotes, having fresh flowers, better quality soap and books to browse sponsored by local shops.

Stainless steel fittings would be replaced with a more hygienic composite material, ergonomic and vandal-resistant dryers would be installed, as would better lighting, hooks for bags and coats and easy-to-use locks.

City councillor John Tanner, Labour, said: "For too long we've had sort of average toilets - clean but not very inspiring.

"What we want is the very best toilets for Oxford and that's what we're going to deliver."

But Conservative county councillor Arash Fatemian disagreed, saying it was unnecessary luxury.

He said: "In this age of austerity is it right to spend £450,000 to bring toilets up to a 'gold standard' when at the same time you've decided to reduce spending on vital services for those people who need it most?

"It doesn't smack of a 'we're all in this together culture'."

The city council said having better toilets would be good for tourism and benefit the city.

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