Brighton and Hove’s loos have been heaped with awards by a national team of inspectors – but despite a clutch of gold and platinum awards, the news doesn’t seem to have impressed the people who actually use them.
An annual audit by the national, independent ‘Loo of the Year Awards’ (LOYA) organisation has graded the toilets the highest ever, with four sites receiving an improved grading on last year.
The LOYA, which aims to ‘encourage the highest possible standards in all away from home washrooms’, inspected all 37 of the council’s loos without warning, with 19 being awarded the highest Platinum status and 18 awarded Gold.
But when the news was announced on Twitter yesterday, the responses weren’t quite what the council will have been hoping for.
Josh Bax said: “Blimey. I must have been imaging things using the loos on Hove prom the other week when filthy and smelly…”
Richard said: “I thought it must be 1st April, but I must be in a parallel universe. Presumably, they were given a good clean before the judges got there. Toilets are smelly and filthy, as I have repeatedly tweeted.”
And Tom Thistlewaite said: “Ditto about Hove Park – and also Queen’s Park, both in terrible condition. The new provider Healthmatic seems notably worse compared with [former contractor] Wettons.”
Other people highlighted the dwindling number of public loos, with several closed over the last decade, including six more over the last year.
However, Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the city’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said the council was doing its best and was happy with the awards:
She said: “We strive to maintain good standards in our loos and are delighted to see we are even better than last year.
“There is sometimes a fear when people need to use a public toilet, but both our residents and tourists can use our loos knowing they are clean, looked after and hygienic enough to win national awards.
“We’ll receive detailed reports for each toilet in December and will use these as a basis to try and achieve even higher standards next year.”
The council’s loos will now compete against hundreds of other organisations in the prestigious Loo of the Year awards national event on Friday 8 December to find the best public toilets in the UK – dubbed the Oscars of the toilet world.
Last year the council scooped first prize in the Best Local Authority Toilets in England category, and also picked up the number one spots for Best Beach Toilets in the UK (West Pier Arches) and Best Crematorium Toilets in the UK (Hove Cemetery South).
Then the 37 loos received 17 platinum (more than any other local authority in the UK), 16 golds and 4 silvers.
Judges look at more than 100 different criteria before choosing the finest loos in the land, giving them a ‘platinum’, ‘gold’ or ‘silver’ grade following an unannounced visit by a fully trained and authorised Loo of the Year Awards Inspector.
The Loo of the Year Awards are independently run, sponsored by leading toilet and hygiene equipment companies and supported by the four UK national tourism bodies – Visit England, Visit Scotland, Visit Wales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.