'They're literally taking the P now!' - 11 things you said about plans for Sunderland's public toilets
Shoppers in Sunderland have hit out at their city's public toilet facilities following the news that some could close in a bid to save money.
The city's local authority is facing a £12million cut in service spending next year - and a review into Sunderland's public toilets is set to take place so councillors can get a clearer picture of their usage.
Last month, a "pay to pee" scheme, which had the potential to save around £155,000, was discussed by councillors - but a committee meeting last week heard that both closure and payment plans are being looked at.
Head of place management at Sunderland City Council, Mark Speed, said: "The proposal that we initially put forward was around shutting down public toilets because as you know some of them are not in brilliant states at all and we’re struggling to maintain and clean them,”
"We all know public toilets aren’t necessarily used for what they were designed to be used for, they’re not necessarily places where residents are going there and feeling safe.
“In this budget report it says introduce charges across the board, what we’re going to do is a review of those facilities.”
Many of you called on the council to provide "more toilets, not less", arguing that they were "essential public services". Others also suggested taking donations to use the facilities.
The council operates a portfolio of 11 public toilets. Ten of them are actively used, while those at Roker have just been refurbished.
There would be "no intention" to shut those ones down.
Firmer proposals are set to be discussed in the new year, with the final budget due in March 2019.
Here's what you had to say on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:
Elaine Davidson: "We need more toilets not less. That's why I use The Galleries. Good facilities."
Christopher Welsh: "Public toilets in busy area’s are an essential utility, it’s also vital to provision for those with specific health needs, ludicrous that shopping facilities are expected to replace essential public services."
Bill Middlemas: "They're literally taking the 'P' now!"
George Ayre: " What is our council thinking about. We need more toilets not less."
Denise Brown: "Never knew there [were] any public toilets left in Sunderland! Thought they had gone like everything else that would be a help to the public."
Brian Turner: "Close the public toilets and it will turn into a ghost town."
Nick Bonallie: "Where, then, are we supposed to urinate? Pubs won't let you use the facilities unless you buy a drink!"
June Wintrip: "Around the country many places have voluntary donations."
Jenifer Thompson: "When do people realise it's the cuts from central government that is causing all these problems all over UK."
Barry Marshall: "They're not exactly plentiful as it is!"
John Dannell: "That's really going to increase visitors to our city."