Last Spring when lockdown restrictions were relaxed Conservative Councillors warned LibDem Council Leader Gareth Roberts that social distancing and Government guidelines would make it impossible for businesses to continue participating in the Community Toilet Scheme and temporary toilets were essential once people were allowed to meet in groups outside. Instead of listening he obstinately continued to peddle the scheme offering businesses a £350 quarterly payment. Far from taking up this paltry offer existing Richmond businesses pulled out of the scheme because it was unmanageable. Residents' complaints about public urination and defecation failed to move him and eventually Conservative Councillors secured a special Council debate only to be rebutted once again and told by Cllr Roberts that temporary toilets would encourage anti social behaviour.
Cllr Pamela Fleming Joint Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group said:
"We've spent best part of a year campaigning for toilet provision and it's a relief that finally the penny has dropped and the Council has agreed to provide temporary toilets in Richmond and Twickenham. This is a time when we need to encourage visitors and without this facility people that require regular access to toilets for health reasons and pregnant or menstruating women will be reluctant to come to Richmond and Twickenham."
"Although we welcome this change of heart, it is not the long term solution and if Cllr Roberts hadn't been so determined to prop up the Community Toilet Scheme last year and had begun the review into permanent toilet provision this costly stop gap may not have been needed. The battle is not over and we must now turn to ensuring he keeps his word about Community Groups and Ward Councillors contributing to this review and that he is serious about providing the borough with new modern public toilets"