A proposal to lease the land the Royal Pavilion Gardens public toilets in Prince’s Place are on to the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust (RPMT) is being discussed at Policy & Resources committee on Thursday 16 March.
If agreed, the toilets will be redesigned and rebuilt as part of the planned restoration of the gardens and will include a Changing Places toilet (CPT).
The proposal provides a long-term and accessible solution to the extensive anti-social behaviour issues at the site.
Current issues with the site
The toilets have been closed since October 2022 due to their poor condition and high levels of anti-social behaviour.
The entrance to the toilets is not visible from the garden or surrounding streets and makes it harder to manage anti-social behaviour at the site.
We’ve explored a number of options for reopening and operating the public toilet but the costs associated with refurbishing the facilities don’t make these viable.
National Lottery Heritage Fund
RPMT’s project team and the council are developing a funding application to National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to submit in summer 2023.
If the proposal is approved, leasing the land to RPMT to provide accessible toilet facilities will support their application for funding and the wider redevelopment of the Royal Pavilion Gardens.
The gardens are the second phase of development for the Royal Pavilion Estate. The first phase, which included the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre refurbishment, is nearing completion.
An access audit of Royal Pavilion Gardens concluded that a Changing Places toilet (CPT) was required to remove accessibility barriers and enable people with disabilities to enjoy the gardens.
A CPT is designed to support the needs of all people with disabilities. They include a height-adjustable changing bench, an overhead track or mobile hoist, a peninsular toilet, privacy screen and enough space for up to two carers.
Previous design plans for Royal Pavilion Gardens included a new CPT block within the boundary of RPMT’s lease arrangement, which would have meant the loss of significant green space within an already limited area.
The new proposal would repurpose the current block as part of the wider garden development project to avoid losing valuable space in the garden.
Increasing access for vulnerable communities meets both NLHF’s funding criteria and importantly provides a much-needed city centre facility.
As part of these proposals and if agreed, RPMT will work with the council for the inclusion of public toilets as part of the block.
However, these would need a business plan which does not add additional costs to RPMT as a charity.
Public toilets across the city
We will be reopening most public toilets across the city over the next few months, with the additional funding allocated to public toilets when the budget was set in February.
We require additional staff to reopen all currently closed sites, including recently refurbished public toilets.
We have started the recruitment process for toilet cleansing operatives.
We will confirm public toilet reopening dates when recruitment progresses and we have resources available.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Leader of the Council said: “A key part of ensuring the future provision of public toilets is a business plan created by working with organisations and businesses across the city.
“This proposal will lease land to the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust to reopen the toilets in this location.
“Public toilets will be maintained in this prominent city centre location, an essential part of the rejuvenated Gardens.
“The new toilets will be complimented by an accessible facility known as a ‘Changing Places toilet’, which would have no financial charge and accessed through the RADAR key scheme.
“Our budget allocated additional funding to public toilets and we will reopen most public toilets in the coming months.
“Additional staff are being recruited to make this possible; we ask residents to bear with us while that recruitment progresses.
“This is all part of our plan to futureproof the city’s public toilets.”