‘Use our loos’ idea could see shops and cafes allow non-customers access to their toilets in Harborough district

District councillor Phil Knowles (MAIL PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)
District councillor Phil Knowles (MAIL PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)

Locals and visitors wanting to spend a penny in Market Harborough and Lutterworth could soon use toilets for free at designated pubs, attractions and shops in the two towns.

Liberal Democrat councillors in the district have come up with the idea, which they say will make both towns more “visitor friendly”.

Sophie Collick of Millers in Miller's Yard. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-181209-080146005

Sophie Collick of Millers in Miller's Yard. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-181209-080146005

“It will also bring potential customers into participating shops of course” added Cllr Phil Knowles.

Cllr Knowles, supported by Cllr Sarah Hill, will introduce the “use our loos” idea at the next full council meeting.

The scheme is based on a similar successful scheme in Kendal in Cumbria, where 14 town businesses allow the public to use their facilities.

There is no suggestion that Harborough’s public toilets will be closed - this is in addition to public facilities.

Cllr Knowles said: “I will be exploring how we can introduce this in the Harborough district.

“There are benefits, I feel, both to the community and to the businesses who participate.

“It’s something that could be promoted by the Council, Tourism and hopefully supported by the Chamber of Trade, Civic Society etc.”

In a notice to the next full counbcil meeting on November 12, the two councillors say: “We wish to do all we can to support our community and businesses and to enhance the experience of tourists visiting our District.

“This may be in the taking of major decisions, but sometimes this is as a result of what may seem, at least on the face of it, smaller actions and or schemes promoted or encouraged by the council.

“In Kendal a scheme has been put in place to encourage shops and businesses to display a sign that tells residents, tourists, etc, that the toilet facilities, facilities for the less able, parents with children, etc, housed within that business are available for use by the public.”

The proposal asks officers to investigate introducing the scheme in Market Harborough and Lutterworth.

Local shops and cafes approache d by the Mail seemed positive about the scheme.

Sophie Collick of Millers Cafe in Millers Yard off Church Square, said: “I’m open to the idea, and, yes, I would consider it if I’m part of a town-wide scheme.”

And at Blend Coffee and Cakes on Manor Walk, a spokesperson said: “We do that all the time anyway, so we’d have no problem with the scheme.”

A spokesperson for the tourist office in Kendal, where the scheme is well-established, said: “It started here after the public toilets were closed down.

“We’ve got 14 different businesses in town who do it, and it works well - if people are aware of the scheme.

“In the Tourist Office we have leaflets with a map that shows where the Kendal Courtesy Toilet Scheme operates. Businesses that take part have stickers on their doors.

“But in Kendal people who don’t know about the scheme still complain about there being no public toilets.”