'Are they taking the pee?' - backlash against plans to charge for public toilets in Sunderland
Plans to introduce a pay-to-pee scheme in Sunderland to help the council make ends meet have been met with a damp response.
Sunderland City Council has proposed introducing charges for its public toilets as it struggles with another Â£12million cut in spending for the next financial year.
Council chiefs say the move would save Â£155,000, but the plans have been slammed by Echo readers - and a poll of almost 2,000 people on our website saw 71% of voters against the plan.
Readers have also had their say on our Facebook page, with some fearing a wider impact of charges on visitor numbers and the environment.
Dave Mitchell said: "Charging for toilets, especially at seafront, will see more parents encouraging their children to wee on the beach or up a wall etc and families with babies will end up changing them on grass embankments and there will be nappies everywhere!"
Nicole Duffy said: "Can't see this working in Sunderland. People will just end up peeing in the street."
Joanandjohn Allan said: "They are doing this, it seems, to put people with children off going to the seaside. Making it that expensive. Pay for toilets. Pay for parking."
Emma Louise Van-embden said: "It's wrong. You shouldn't have to pay to go to a toilet. What if you're desperate and don't have any money on you or like some unfortunate people out there who cant afford a loaf of bread let alone paying for a pee?"
Kathryn Chardonnay Rochester said: "I'd rather pee in a bush than pay them."
Martin Allison said; "Are they just taking the pee?"
Billy Stewart said: "As long as they have contactless, I don’t carry cash."
Vikki Hoggarth said: "The council have to actually look after them if they're going to force people to pay, people are definitely not going to pay to use manky toilets!"
Donna Gibson said: "Sunderland Council would charge us to breathe if they thought they could gets away with it, so don't be surprised by this."
Angie Hammond said: "I'd rather go for a nice coffee and use their loos instead. Like I won't park in town, because the parking rates there are ridiculous."
However, there were those in support of the plan - including some who remember literally "spending a penny" in the past.
Sarah Harper said: "I would pay I don't see a problem as long as the money goes back into the city."
Paula Horsfall said: "Public toilets always charged - spending a penny. I think it's worth it if they keep them clean."
Though Steph Dunbar replied pessimistically: "Which they won't."
Paul J Scrafton said: "Every other city and town charges. Why should we be any different?"
Joyce Galley said: "Always had to put an old penny in the slot to open the door when I was growing up."
Emma Jane Neale said: "Chester-le-street council have charged to use their public toilets for years, and no one complains!"
Rachel McGregor said: "I'm not too happy at the idea, but if the money is going towards keeping them in good condition, clean and actually put some toilet seats on the loos themselves then I wouldn't mind so much."
Gayle Parkinson said; "I think it’s worth it to keep them clean and decent, it was that way many years ago but can agree that it doesn’t matter how much our council tax goes up to they still looks at ways to make us pay."
Becca Stockdale said: "I wouldn't mind if they are kept clean. Public toilets make me feel ill. I hate taking my daughter in."