Leeds has just 10 public toilets - one per 80,160 residents

There's nothing more frustrating than searching for a public toilet while out and about.

Friday, 17th August 2018, 4:07 pm
Updated Friday, 17th August 2018, 4:10 pm
The population of Leeds has risen to 801,600, but the number of public toilets is decreasing (Photo: Shutterstock)

In Leeds there are only 10 public and community toilets around the city and surrounding areas, amounting to just one per 80,160 residents.

Provisions in Leeds

Ten public toilets can be found around Leeds, at the following locations:

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Leeds City Council says it is committed to providing free public toilet facilities for locals (Photo: Shutterstock)

Armley, Leeds LS12 - on Theaker Lane off Town Street near Burnsall Multi Storey Flats

Boston Spa, High Street - in the public car park by side of the library (open Sunday)

Bramhope, Old Lane - in the public car park between the public house and school

Bramley, Town Street - near the bus station in the district shopping centre

Garforth, Barleyhill Road - in the public car park

Headingley, Ash Road, Leeds LS6 - by the side of the Lounge Cinema building on the corner of Ash Road and North Lane

Hyde Park, Leeds LS6 - by play areas and skate park on Woodhouse Moor corner of Hyde Park road and Woodhouse Lane (open Sunday)

Otley, Nelson Street - part of the library and visitor centre (open Sunday)

Rothwell - in Marsh Street car park

Wetherby, The Shambles, Cross Street - near the market place and Town hall (open Sunday)

These public facilities are cleaned by Leeds City Council at least once per day and are locked overnight, with all toilets closed by 6:30pm.

Public toilet decline

According to research from the BBC, some UK high streets and popular tourist haunts now no longer have any council-run public toilets, and at least 673 facilities have stopped being maintained by major councils since 2010.

Since then, the UK's population has grown significantly, with the population of Leeds growing from 751,000 in 2011 to 801,600 in 2017, leaving many cities without adequate provisions as a result.

Findings from the BBC showed that:

UK councils stopped maintaining around 13 per cent of public toilets between 2010 and 2018

In 2018 there were 4,486 toilets run by major councils in the UK, down from 5,159 in 2010

In 37 areas, major councils no longer run any public conveniences

Commenting on the pressures posed by budget cuts, which has resulted in the decline of council-run public toilets, a spokesperson from Leeds City Council said: "Due to continued pressures on our budget we have, following an evaluation of use, had to close some public toilets since 2010.

"We remain committed to providing public toilets where there is a need and ensuring that they are free to use."

Should more public toilets be provided?

While there has been a consistent decline in the number of public toilet facilities around the UK, local authorities have no legal duty to provide them, which has often resulted in closures by councils in an effort to cut costs.

Others that haven't been closed have been handed to community groups and paid for through fundraising, while some councils rely on business to make their toilets publicly available. Businesses who provide toilet access for customers have no legal duty to make them available for non-customers.

However, Raymond Martin, of the British Toilet Association, argues that providing toilets is not only a public health issue, but it is also about equality and social inclusion, and while councils have no legal requirement to provide them, they do have a "moral responsibility".