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Policy S6 Public toilets


  1. Development proposals that include large-scale commercial developments that are open to the public, such as shops, leisure facilities and large areas of public realm, should provide and secure the future management of free publicly-accessible toilets. These should be available during opening hours, or 24 hours a day in areas of public realm, and should be suitable for a range of users including disabled people and families with young children.
  2. Larger developments where users are expected to spend long periods of time or where there is no other local provision, should also provide ‘Changing Places’ toilets as identified in the British Standard BS8300.

Public toilets are a vital facility, both for Londoners and visitors to the city. They are especially important for certain groups including disabled people, older people, people with babies and young children and pregnant women, as well as tourists and visitors who may be less familiar with their surroundings. Public toilets can support businesses in boosting customer footfall, by giving people more confidence to move around the city and spend more time in a place or space, as well as helping to keep London clean.

Public toilets should be provided as part of large-scale commercial developments that are open to the public. Boroughs should define ‘large-scale’ for their local circumstances.

Taking into account the needs of all Londoners, a range of toilet facilities should be provided. They should include unisex disabled persons’ toilets, separate accessible baby change/family toilets, and cubicles for people with ambulant mobility impairments which can also be suitable for some older people or people who require additional space. Further guidance on the provision and design of these facilities can be found in British Standard BS8300. Consideration should also be given to the provision of gender-neutral toilets.

Public toilets which are open 24 hours can be of great benefit to people accessing London’s night-time economy. These, whether permanent or temporary, should provide facilities which can be used by disabled people and people of all genders.

Public toilet facilities, whether provided inside buildings or externally, should be safe and clean. Surveillance of entrances is an important consideration when planning facilities. Ongoing management and cleaning of facilities should be secured and agreed at the planning stage to ensure long-term provision is achievable.

Standard wheelchair accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all disabled people. People with profound and multiple impairments, learning disabilities, and other impairments such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or acquired brain injury, often need extra facilities to allow them to use a toilet comfortably. Changing Places toilets are different to standard accessible toilets as they are designed for assisted use, are larger, and have additional features. Without Changing Places toilets many people are limited in terms of how long they can be away from home, or where they can go. The provision of Changing Places toilets can open up new areas and experiences for people with profound and multiple impairments, and their companions, removing the barrier that the lack of provision can create.

Further guidance on the types of development where it would be appropriate to provide a Changing Places toilet can be found in British Standard BS8300. Changing Places toilets are not designed for independent use and should be provided in addition to standard unisex disabled persons’ toilets, baby change and family facilities, not as a substitution.