Revealed: Suffolk's sexist toilets

SPENDING a penny in one Suffolk town is leaving half the population feeling rather short changed.

Russell Claydon

SPENDING a penny in one Suffolk town is leaving half the population feeling rather short changed.

The cost of the 20p levy for the privilege of using a council toilet block in Sudbury is not what is leaving people reeling - it is the fact it is only being rigorously applied to women.

When men use the public conveniences in Gaol Lane they are able to do so at no cost, providing they stay clear of the single cubicle.

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But for women the charge is unavoidable and has led to Sue Hood, a White Notley parish councillor, to label it a “sexist” charging policy by Babergh District Council.

She was left fuming on a visit to Sudbury yesterday after she joked her husband James should not forget his 20p, but then discovered it was only the fairer sex it applied to.

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Mrs Hood, 61, said: “I think it is quite sexist. Does it mean if women have to take their little boys into the toilets with them they have to pay but if they go in (the men's toilet) by themselves they do not?

“I understand they have to pay to keep the toilets clean but I think men make more mess than women mostly, or as much as.”

The Medical secretary at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, who lives in White Notley, said the charge would not stop her visiting Sudbury but had left a sour taste on her day out.

A spokeswoman for Babergh District Council, who own the toilet block at Gaol Lane and employ Sudbury Town Council staff to operate it, refused to comment on claims it was a sexist charging policy.

But she said: “Any money collected is ploughed straight back into the cost of running and maintaining this public amenity.”

The charging system is operated through a coin slot on the handle to the cubicles.

A sign at the entrance to the facility indicates there are free public conveniences available on the other side of the town centre at the bus station site in Hamilton Road.

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