Canterbury City Council plans to install French-style outdoor public urinals

Council bosses are to consider installing French-style ‘pissoir’ toilets to stop people urinating on the high street.

Men relieving themselves in Canterbury city center at night have been a continuing source of misfortune for shop owners and residents over the years.

Canterbury council bosses are considering installing outdoor urinals – like this one in Amsterdam. Photo: Istock / Jann Huizenga

Cllr Ashley Clark therefore thinks the local authority should take inspiration from our mainland neighbors and introduce a series of public urinals.

Renowned as a “completely practical” solution, pissoirs stand out in the open – usable at any time.

The Conservative councillor, who previously encouraged residents to wee on their compost as a way to enrich biodiversity, says toilets could simply be hosed down.

“Looking off the beaten track, I wonder if it’s worth considering what they have in France,” said Cllr Clark.

“They have installed pissoirs which deal with the main problem of this late evening.

Councilor Ashley Clark
Councilor Ashley Clark

“I know it’s only about number ones and not number twos, but number ones are the main problem late at night. It’s a major source of antisocial behavior.

“It’s something that can be cleaned very easily – it doesn’t need toilet paper rolls and all that.

“You can just clean it out with a fire hose, it’s as simple as that. That’s how the French do it, and they’ve been doing it for years and years.

“The biggest problem with toilets is that there aren’t any at night, especially in the city centre.

“If you ask shopkeepers in central Canterbury a lot, they say toilets are their front door.”

Public toilets in Canterbury Lane near Superdrug
Public toilets in Canterbury Lane near Superdrug

At present, there are seven public toilets scattered around Canterbury, but only one is in the heart of the city.

The block next to the taxi rank near Superdrug is open 24 hours a day, but its reputation for crime and drug use means some with full bladders opt for the high street instead.

Cllr Clark proposed his pissoir plan to the council’s community committee on Wednesday.

Facilities management chief Alexis Jobson hailed the “perfectly sensible” suggestion and said the authority would consider the option in its ongoing review of public amenities.

However, Cllr Connie Nolan (Lab) said the urinal plan was “very male-oriented” and said it would not pass the council’s equality provision.

In an effort to save money, the cash-strapped council is considering closing the Sturry Road Park & ​​Ride toilets and Swalecliffe Avenue toilets in Hampton.

This would help the authority conserve around £40,000 a year in costs.

Further surveys on finances and what can be done to improve public toilets are to be carried out this year.

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