Pensioners in Haringey have succeeded in "opening the door" to get greater toilet accessibility across the borough for all who need them.

Members of Loos for Haringey, backed by Age UK, took a deputation to Haringey's overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday (March 30) asking for a toilet strategy and a nominated officer to take overall responsibility.

The meeting heard that Haringey has only three public toilets - in Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Tottenham Hale - and despite a cleaning
contract with Veolia, has multiple departments overseeing them that "no-one takes responsibility".

The group, which includes Haringey Over 50s Forum, Friends of Chestnuts Park (FoCP), and the Toilet Manifesto for London, also asked for more toilets to be made available. They claimed more than 50 per cent of residents do not leave their homes for fear of being "caught short".

Patrice Wellesley-Cole told the meeting: “The lack of public toilets can trap people at home and stops many from living the lives that they want to live. 

"It can exacerbate social isolation and impact the local economy, as people choose to spend less time in shopping areas."

She said one in five people leave their home less often than they would like to because of a lack of available toilets, saying the figure for people with health conditions "rises to nearly 50pc".

Ham & High: Members of Loos for Haringey fighting for accessible toilets in the borough for all who need themMembers of Loos for Haringey fighting for accessible toilets in the borough for all who need them (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

The group asked that the council develop a toilet strategy to improve the provision of public toilets, and to report on interim improvements "early in the 23-24 financial year".

"The situation in Haringey is not good," she added, highlighting "shut off" loos in Turnpike Lane, poor condition toilets in St Anne’s Road, a lack of toilets at Tottenham Hale Retail Park and "loo deserts" in north Tottenham and Archway.

She said there was a need for improved public information with signage, maps, web information, newsletters, posters and leaflets to raise awareness.

Gordon Peters, former chair of the Haringey Over 50s Forum, highlighted the need for more toilets at Tottenham Hale Retail Park where he claimed people can queue "for up to three quarters of an hour" for the toilet in Costa Coffee.

He asked if money could be allocated in the future, "money we need to find".

Councillors roundly supported their idea and suggested their own, such as private businesses helping or building toilets into any development plans.

They agreed to work with the group to develop a toilet strategy.

Lucia Das Neves, cabinet member for health, social care and wellbeing, said it was "an important issue" and agreed to meet the group.

She told them their strategy was "prescient" as she was already looking at issues in the council's Ageing Well in Haringey service.

She pointed to "a lot of expertise" in the council and said it was "right we start a conversation".

Cllr Pippa Connor, Liberal Democrat chair of the scrutiny committee, highlighted disabled children who become isolated and unable to go out for similar reasons.

She recommended the report be brought back to the scrutiny panel when completed to offer "reassurance" to the group.

Following the meeting Gordon said it was "good news".

"We've half opened the door and we need to push it wider," he added.