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Toilets gain a flush of approval

19 January 2018

The Green Flag Award celebrates the very best, most well-managed parks and green spaces in the country. Places that are constantly looking to improve their sites now and for future generations. Staff and volunteers are trying new ideas, taking risks, and involving others to improve their sites.

Each year we celebrate the very best innovations occurring across Green Flag Award sites, with our Special Innovation Awards. And each week we are sharing the winners' stories, including Waverley Borough Council's Broadwater Park.

Not necessarily the most exciting topic of conversation, but toilets and other vital facilities matter to people. They can be the difference between a park being welcoming, accessible, well-used and well-loved ... or not. They can be a major contribution to a park's energy and water-use, and if not well-managed can give a park a bad reputation. 

Staff at Broadwater park had all this in mind when they recently renovated and modernised their park's toilet facilities. But what makes this renovation different and an inspiration to us all?

  • installing vandal-resistant features, as the toilets had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour
  • re-configuring the buildings, to present a clean, hygienic appearance
  • using automatic flushers, extractor fans and air fresheners, to keep them clean whilst being more environmentally friendly
  • reducing the height of some urinals and handwashers, to cater for their younger visitors
  • using fully automatic hand wash units, which reduce water, energy and soap use
  • installing light tubes, infra-red sensors and a light, bright colour-scheme to reduce energy-usage in lighting
  • refurbishing the disabled toilets, making park DDA-friendly and more welcoming
  • using contrasting colours and braille to help people with limited sight
  • consulting the community in the design and including their ideas

All this has meant

  • the project has kept the toilets open and operational long-term, after they were threatened with closure due to their poor condition
  • the public love their new facilities, they are more regularly used and the satisfaction score went up by 8% in their recent survey
  • close to a popular play area, they are very well-used by families. Especially popular are the baby-changing facilities in both the men's and women's toilets
  • vandalism is down to virtually nothing, but on the rare occasions it does occur, the new facilities mean the toilet can be re-opened more quickly

Congratulations to the team at Broadwater Park.