Ripon residents have called for action on the condition of our city’s public toilets, which some have condemned as being ‘disgusting, run-down and unhygienic.’
The criticism initially started with a flurry of activity on social media, where debate broke out about what can be done to improve the toilets, which some fear are creating a bad impression for visitors.
City resident Hayley Needham is among those who raised concerns. She told the ‘Gazette: “There are three blocks of public toilets that I’m aware of in Ripon, and I avoid them at all costs to be fair - they are utterly disgusting.
“I’ve seen human faeces smeared all over the floor and walls before in one of the blocks of toilets when my little girl was caught short, I felt physically sick. Imagine what a tourist’s impression of the city would be, being greeted with that. It is unhealthy for anyone.
“Maybe a pay as you go system would be better for Ripon, as it would stop any vandals and unsociable behaviour. The toilets are just run-down and unhygienic.”
Another resident said: “The toilets are a disgrace, it doesn’t look good for visitors who come to Ripon.” Gareth Smith, who also lives in Ripon, cited an occasion where the public toilets were particularly bad in the Spa Gardens, but said in general the condition of public toilets in the city could be a lot worse.
He said: “They are not that bad in general, public toilets are never the best places, but they serve a purpose.”
The majority of residents who have levelled criticism condemned the actions of vandals and those who leave the toilets in a bad way, rather than criticising Harrogate Borough Council which manages the facilities - but some have, however, called for the council to do more to stamp out anti-social behaviour and monitor the toilets more closely.
Concerns have been raised about managing the toilets during big public events when there is increased footfall to the city, and higher public toilet usage.
Responding to the concerns of residents, a spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said: “As you can imagine, public toilets are exceptionally difficult to keep clean.
“And they are frequently vandalised by some individuals who clearly have nothing better to do. We clean and check all of our public toilets every day of the week, but if anyone has any immediate concerns about the condition of the toilets, they can call us on 01423 500600.”
What do you think of the condition of Ripon’s public toilets? And what do you think could be done to help stamp out acts of vandalism? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01423 594823.