Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bath Resident Occupies Public Toilet in Protest Against Closures

Twerton Toilet Protest

(updated 22:30 31/7/13)
Late Wednesday afternoon, (31st July 2013) Lin Patterson, 67, took a sleeping bag, fresh water and supplies and occupied the public toilets in Twerton, Bath. The local council want to close the toilets permanently the next day in order to save £8,289 per year.  It is one of three public toilets closing that day in Bath (Combe Down and Peasedown are the others).

Local residents attended a demonstration at 6pm outside the toilets in support and as a last minute attempt to save their toilets.  One father of a young boy said,” I didn’t even know the toilets were closing.  I bring my young son here often, because you know how it is with young children.” When it was pointed out that a sign had been posted on the toilets announcing the closure, he said “I didn’t even notice that.”

Lin has been campaigning to keep the public toilet open in Larkhall, the other side of Bath, where an extension has been granted until April while local councillors and officers try to find commercial subsidy.

She said, “I am occupying these toilets for three reasons.  There was some good campaigning by Twerton people to keep the toilets open, with a petition of 97 signatures handed in and another petition of at least 50 signatures gathered, but many people in Twerton still do not know our toilets are closing, and we need to know and mobilise. 

The second reason is that although I have been campaigning to save the Larkhall toilets, people need all these facilities. We are stronger if we work together. So this widens and intensifies the campaign. 

The third reason is to put this in the context of cuts that are unnecessary, unreasonable and unwanted by people who can vote. The priorities are wrong nationally and locally, with huge capital budgets for massive projects that primarily serve vested interests. I start with local toilets, which serve one of our most basic human needs, where closure hurts the most vulnerable, elderly, women, children and disabled people.”

When asked how long she would occupy the toilets, she answered, “We will see.”  People in Bath can support their toilets by signing the e-petition at:

A local resident took a video of the occupation, below.


Councillor David Dixon, to whom the petition is addressed, was unsympathetic to the occupation, commenting on the Occupy Bath Facebook Page "Seriously, you are occupying some loos. They will start to smell after a few weeks. If you fancy cleaning them, opening and locking up each day, that would be great. Enjoy!" Perhaps he will take the issue more seriously when he realises that people actually care about this issue in this city.

Occupy Bath were keen to stress that this is not one of their actions but that they are supporting it by getting word out.

This evening Lin issued the following update:
"9pm on my first night occupying the Twerton Public Toilets. The cubicle is all laid out with folded over air mattress, books perched on a handrail, even some artificial flowers to brighten it up. People have been very interested. When they see the big "Occupied" banner they are astonished to learn their toilets are due to close tomorrow. It's quiet, with just the gulls and traffic from the main High Street a block away. But tomorrow I hope we'll see a buzz develop as the Twerton Market sets up in the morning. I have placards ready for people if they want their photo taken defending their right to public toilets"

David Dixon also mentioned that there is talk of Bath Football Club providing toilets in Twerton, but it appears that there is no definite replacement.

More on this story:
Day 2:

Day 3: 
Day 4: