Nov 10th, 2013
Victory for Bath loos
By Megan Bentall
For the first time in Bath history, thousands of people got together and forced a council debate. Thanks to the pressure applied by all of us, the council have decided to keep public toilets open until April 2014.
They had planned to close a number of the city’s public toilets. In a time of austerity and cuts, they thought that no one would care about such a loss. But Lin Pattinson, a local 38 Degrees member in the city, had other ideas. Toilets give those affected by bladder weakness the confidence to go out and about. Losing them would be crippling.
So Lin fought back. The day before they were due to shut Lin’s nearest public toilet, she occupied it. For three days. She physically stopped the council, and made the fight for Bath public loos a national story. TV crews and newspapers poured in to report on the struggle to save Bath’s toilets. Pressure on the council was growing.
But this wasn’t one woman’s fight against the council, it was an entire city’s. Lin had set up a petition on Campaigns By You that was being signed by local people in their thousands. Soon, the petition hadn’t just reached the threshold required to force a debate in the council, it had smashed it. By working together, 38 Degrees members got over double the signatures we needed.
This victory is a testament to the power of people acting together. But we still need to be vigilant. The council will look again at this issue in April 2014. So if we need to, let’s keep up the pressure. Let’s keep the toilets open, for everyone.