City centre shoppers in Wakefield are getting a bum deal because they’ve no access to a free public toilet, a campaign group has claimed.
The British Toilet Association (BTA) says that the district is one of just nine areas in the country without free public toliets .
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The effect, they claim, is that some parts of the population are now too scared to leave their homes because of an absence of even the most bog-standard facilities.
The BTA are calling on the government to make free toilets compulsory in every town and city in the UK, and are concerned that for some authorities, it’s not a number one, or even a number two priority.
Raymond Martin, the BTA’s managing director, said: “Elderly people, vulnerable people and those with certain conditions are not going out into town centres now because they’re worried about getting caught short.
“Councils have absolutely no responsibility for toilet provision. They never have and they never will.
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“Those that do provide a toilet do so because they see it as a moral duty. It’s up to the government to change that.”
Other places elsewhere in the UK without a free public toilet include Bolsover in Derbyshire, Milton Keynes and all of Cambridgeshire
Other places have seen the number of toilets cut because of austerity and the high costs of maintaining them.
It means shops and businesses are increasingly hospitable towards members of the public using their facilities free of charge. But the BTA says some are still reluctant to use private toilets in case there are strings attached.
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Mr Martin said: “Some people still get rather worried about if they have to go into a coffee shop or a restaurant to use the toilet, will they have to spend £3.50 on a coffee or something like that.
“That trend is beginning to be reversed because of austerity.”
Wakefield Council was contacted for comment.