Toilet Charging in Greenwich Park - March 2015

News form the Royal Park

Like many organisations operating in the public sector, The Royal Parks has faced some substantial and very challenging cuts to the money it receives from central Government. This has left us with some tough choices about how we spend our limited resources.
It currently costs us around £1.5m a year to operate 27 toilet blocks across the Royal Parks. This equates to around one tenth of our entire grant from central Government.
Unfortunately this level of subsidy is no longer possible and we are faced with a choice of either closing toilet blocks or introducing a modest charge for their use.
We have a high standard of toilets and no desire to see them close, so we have taken a decision to introduce a 20 pence charge for their use.
Importantly, accessible toilets (used by people with disabilities) and children’s toilets in playgrounds will still be free to access. Baby changing facilities are widely available within accessible toilets at no charge. Accessible toilets can be accessed using a radar key or through the attendant. There will be no charging at toilets in park cafes as they are not included in these plans.
Many of you will already be aware of this as we have endeavoured to keep regular park stakeholders informed as our plans have developed. 
Toilet management, including cleaning and maintenance, is currently managed by an external contractor. We have now appointed a contractor to manage these existing services across the Royal Parks from November 2014, with the addition of toilet charging from next year.  This role will be fulfilled by Vinci Facilities following a competitive tendering process.
Charges will be introduced across the Royal Parks from February to March 2015. We will give as much notice as possible before charging begins by putting notices on toilet blocks and park notice boards and writing to park friends groups and other stakeholders.
We would prefer to keep the toilets open and free of charge but I’m sorry to say this is not possible.  Government funding for The Royal Parks has been reduced by more than a third in real terms since 2010/11, so we must think very carefully about how we spend our limited resources. We think the 20 pence charge is a relatively modest compromise and compares well with other toilet facilities in London.  
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some good news about toilet provision in Victoria Tower Gardens.  These toilets have been closed for some decades, but we are currently carrying out a programme of refurbishment and plan to reopen them in summer 2015.
Best wishes
Dennis Clarke | Head of Park Services