First flush of success as new loos unveiled
Buy this photo » From left, Street Scene operative Troy Smart, Peter Fryer of Unison, Cllr John Tanner and Jeremy Smith of the Oxford Mail
OXFORD can now spend a penny with pride thanks to newly opened toilets which will offer books and fresh flowers.
The Market Street toilets opened to a fanfare yesterday after a four-month £75,000 revamp.
They are the first loos to be finished as part of a wider £450,000 city council scheme to make sure no toilets across the city are just bog standard.
And yesterday the first members of the public used the new Market Street toilets, which are Oxford’s busiest.
The toilets have been stripped out and given modern fixtures and fittings.
Famous quotes about Oxford or from some of Oxford’s many celebrities adorn the walls.
And the Oxford Mail has provided books in both the ladies and gents for people to take away, read and then review for our new feature slot Reviews from the Loos.
Fresh flowers will be added to the toilets at a later date, and the city council is hoping they will be supplied free of charge by local florists.
City councillor John Tanner, board member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said: “These facilities are amazing. I was really pleased when I saw them.
“The city council staff have done an excellent job.
“I hope the public will let us know what they think so we can make sure the Gloucester Green toilet improvements are at least as good.
“We wanted to make Market Street loos something Oxford can really be proud of.”
He added that the toilets would be cleaned on an hourly basis.
Work involved the installation of an all-in-one washing and drying facility as well as improved lighting which clicks off automatically, door hooks, easy to use locks, mirrors and shelves.
The toilets themselves are made of a hygienic composite material which is much harder to damage than ceramic.
Copies of the Oxford Mail review pages will also be on the walls for people to look at.
The Oxford Mail’s features editor Jeremy Smith has been appointed Oxford’s toilet tsar by the city council.
He said: “Finally, Oxford city centre has toilets that both we as residents can be proud of, and visitors can return home and boast to friends about.
“These facilities take the public convenience to a whole new level and once again re-enforce the fact that Oxford truly is one of the world’s greatest cities.”
The city council owns and operates 24 public toilets across the city, all of which will be refurbished, and it also runs a community toilet scheme which sees nine businesses in the city centre make their toilets available to the public.
Work will start on the Gloucester Green toilets at the end of the month, and the Florence Park toilets, which are also currently being refurbished, are expected to be opened next week.
To submit your book review email it to Mr Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
REVIEW BY DAMIAN FANTATO
Anyone who remembers the way the Market Street toilets used to look will know that visiting them was never undertaken lightly.
It was always a matter of dire necessity rather than choice which took shoppers into the facilities.
But the poor state the toilets were in, with their cold, metal features and their stark decor, only highlights the transformation which has since taken place.
And it is a transformation which will not go unnoticed – as Mr Tanner prepared to cut the ribbon yesterday a queue of people was already forming hoping to make the most of the loos.
The toilets are now much more welcoming with their modern, brightly coloured fittings and much more inviting toilet seats.
Shelves of books certainly give the facilities a homely air and all-in-one washing facilities are a neat idea and make a change from having to fumble around with taps.
Here’s hoping the toilets won’t be vandalised so that everyone can enjoy them.