Bog off! Public loos in St Albans city centre face closure

The Spicer Street toilets are set to be converted for residential use.

The Spicer Street toilets are set to be converted for residential use. - Credit: Matt Adams

There will be limited options for spending a penny in St Albans if two public toilets are permanently closed.

A meeting of the district council's public realm committee on Tuesday night heard about plans to close Verulamium Park Causeway toilets due to continued flooding issues and redevelop Spicer Street toilets for residential use.

This would result in annual savings of £14,220 for Verulamium Park toilets and £11,829 for Spicer Street toilets, but will mean there are limited facilities available in that part of the city.

The Verulamium Park Causeway toilets have been closed due to flooding.

The Verulamium Park Causeway toilets have been closed due to flooding. - Credit: Archant

Cllr Annie Brewster said: “Our hundred acre, flagship Verulamium Park is one of the jewels in St Albans’ crown. Many people’s earliest childhood memory of the city was a visit to the lake with a grandparent, mine with an elderly aunt.

"The notion of not providing a public convenience, particularly with disabled facilities, at a location Trip Advisor recommends to spend two to three hours is unthinkable. Creative thinking should be able to design a higher level facility that will not be impacted by flooding.

"Further, the public lavatories in Spicer Street are spectacular and an important part of the city’s heritage.  A visit to them is like stepping right back into a lost era.  Importantly, they provide a vital service for visitors en route to the Cathedral, Romeland Garden, the Abbey Gateway, Verulamium Park and St Michael’s village."

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, chair of the public realm committee, explained the reasoning behind the closures: “With our budget under severe pressure, we are currently reviewing all council expenditure and are having to make some tough decisions.

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“As part of this process, we are looking at closing the public toilets at Spicer Street because usage is low and the facilities are old-fashioned.

“This is a residential location and we feel the best open option is to redevelop the building for housing rather than maintain it as an infrequently-used public convenience.

Inside the Spicer Street toilets.

Inside the Spicer Street toilets. - Credit: Matt Adams

“This will raise some much-needed funds for to use on priority projects to the benefit of our residents.

“The toilets by Verulamium Park lakes have been closed for most of the past 18 months because of persistent flooding. The building is also showing signs of age.

“We have no plans to reopen them at present. There are alternative toilets nearby at the athletics pav and elsewhere in the park by the Roman Museum and at Westminster Lodge.”