The Conservative opposition group at Richmond Council has called for an emergency meeting to deal with the issue of a lack of public toilets in the borough's public spaces.

In June, Richmond Council introduced the Community Toilet Scheme, enabling members of the public to use toilet facilities in participating bars, restaurants and cafés, without the need to make a purchase.

However, many have complained that this is not enough, and regular toilet access is still urgent for those who are pregnant, elderly, and as a public health issue.

Councillor, Geoffrey Samuel, said:

“For a number of weeks now with no public toilets available, people have been urinating and defecating in public on both Richmond and Twickenham Green. The Leader of the Council has spoken in public about this public health crisis.  Yet his Council has flatly refused to provide portaloos.

“Front gardens and garages in neighbouring roads are not safe either.  And members of the public who attempt to remonstrate are met with threats and intimidation.  This must not continue.  

“Conservative Councillors believe it is time to put a stop to this situation and are standing up for local people who have been coping with an appalling situation.  If the Council Leadership will not act, then the Council itself must instruct them to bring in portaloos. We need action NOW.

"My initiative - supported by all Conservative Councillors – is designed to ensure that the Council meets in the next few days so that portaloos are in place well before Bank Holiday”.

A Richmond Council spokeswoman responded: “Cllr Samuel will be aware that for the first time in over a decade the Council is seriously looking into the provision of permanent toilet facilities in both Richmond Town Centre and Twickenham Green to complement the existing public toilet provision provided at Richmond Railway Station, in some shops and through the Community Toilet Scheme.  

“Whether or not the Special Council Meeting happens is not in question, the question is whether the petitioners have demonstrated that there are ‘wholly exceptional circumstances’ to warrant calling a meeting of full Council on an earlier date to the next scheduled ordinary meeting which will happen in September.

"This question will be considered by the Mayor in consultation with the Chief Executive of the borough.”

Residents are urged to sign up for the West Twickenham Community Conversation online event, scheduled to start at 6.30pm next Tuesday, August 18.

The event aims to give residents a chance to have their say on local issues, such as public toilets, to their representative ward councillors.

To join the event, register here.