Mums urge Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz to fix East Ham park toilets
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 August 2018
A group of mums has called on the mayor to spare their youngsters’ blushes by keeping a park’s loos open longer.
Mum Rachel Mathews has so far collected 350 signatures on a petition urging Newham Council to keep the toilets in Central Park in East Ham clean, open and safe for families.
Mrs Mathews, of Henniker Gardens, East Ham, acted after attempts to base a mums’ group at neighbouring cafe The Larder were thwarted because the facilities weren’t always open to allow for urgent nappy changes and the unpredictable urges of potty-training toddlers.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t very successful because people couldn’t stay in the cafe a long time without toilets,” the 35-year-old said.
She recalled a time when one youngster who was bursting had to go behind a tree because the loo was closed.
And the little boy wasn’t alone with the full-time mum having seen grown-ups nipping behind the bushes for a wild wee just metres from the children’s playground.
“It’s not nice for the kids to see. It’s not nice for other people to watch either. It’s making the park inaccesible when it should be an accessible community spot for Newham.
“We just want to encourage the council to do something about it. We understand the council has priorities like housing, but roads, litter, parks and those kinds of thing should be a given,” she said.
Newham launched a community loo scheme in May last year offering businesses cash to let the public use their facilities.
One of the nearest places to the park is East Ham Town Hall half a mile away.
“That’s a long way for a three-year-old who needs the toilet,” Mrs Mathews said.
A toilet at the Parkside Cafe in High Street South has no baby changing facilities.
A Newham spokeswoman said the council has tried to find solutions to the problem but the toilets have already been vandalised nine times this year with toilet bowls and sinks smashed on three of those occasions.
She added: “We share residents’ frustrations and are currently looking at the options and costs involved in re-instating the facility.
“The council continues to encourage businesses to join our community toilet scheme, which now runs 13 toilet facilities across the borough, and is close to confirming a business near Central Park, to support residents until the park toilets issue is resolved.”
The spokeswoman said Newham would work with the police to bring enforcement action against anyone responsible for the vandalism and look at whether any further security measures can be introduced.