Just five loos for public left across borough

The number of public toilets in Wigan has fallen by nearly two-thirds in just five years.

Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 3:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 5:13 pm
The public toilets on Princess Road, Ashton in Makerfield

Wigan Council has five toilets around the borough which are available to the public.

But there were 14 toilets in 2011, meaning there has been a decrease of 64 per cent.

However, the five toilets means provision is still higher than in other parts of the country.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Freedom of Information requests obtained by the BBC revealed there were 10 areas with no council-run public toilets, while 22 councils, including Manchester, had one.

Areas popular with tourists were found to have more toilets.

Eight of Wigan’s 14 toilets have been demolished since 2011, while one is vacant.

The remaining toilets - which are free to use - are located at: Wigan bus station, Leigh bus station (serviced by TfGM), Princess Road in Ashton, Flapper Fold Lane in Atherton and The Square in Tyldesley.

A council spokesman said: “We do recognise the importance of having public toilets but they can be costly to maintain when they aren’t used frequently.”

Raymond Martin, managing director of the British Toilet Association, said many councils decided to close toilets during the recession as they were a “discretionary” service.

But he said their closure affects the number of visitors and can lead to other costs, such as cleaning up when someone urinates in the street.

Mr Martin said: “Going forward we have to try to save the five toilets that are there.”

He said that while the number of council-run toilets has declined nationally, facilities are available elsewhere.

He said: “We have seen a great rise in the number of superstores and shopping centres and many of those provide toilets, so perhaps the numbers still match up.

“In public toilets, we have perhaps seen a reduction of 40 per cent and that’s wrong.”