Spending a penny is set to get easier in Farnham following the launch of a new community toilet scheme run by local businesses with Farnham Town Council.

The Mayor of Farnham Councillor John Ward launched the scheme at The Queen’s Head in The Borough. The idea for the initiative was originally suggested by Jessica Masterson-Smith who is the landlady at The Queen’s Head. She said: “I was first introduced to the idea while travelling in Australia. Pubs, restaurants and shops work together to provide additional clean, safe and accessible toilet facilities which are available during the premises’ opening hours without customers having to make a purchase to use them. It works really well there and I thought it would work well in Farnham too. Shoppers and residents really like it because they are never far from a toilet and it’s a straightforward, common sense way for businesses to offer something to the town at very little cost.”

The community toilet scheme will initially be piloted for one year. Similar schemes operate in other areas of the UK, providing an extra convenience for residents, workers and shoppers without the need for large investment from public funds or the need to charge users.

Speaking at the launch, the Mayor of Farnham, Councillor John Ward said: “As a thriving town, Farnham is busy at all times of day and into late evening. As such there is demand for accessible toilets with extended opening times. The Town Council provides toilets at The Hart, Gostrey Meadow and Central Car Park and so we are very pleased to work with our local business community to add to those facilities, particularly outside our opening times. We hope that this scheme will help to increase the number of people visiting our local businesses and that some people might be encouraged to stop for something to eat or drink.”

The scheme has its own logo, designed by University of Creative Arts’ graduate, Florence Zealey. The idea of the scheme is that participating businesses will display the logo in their window so as to help visitors to the town find the nearest welcoming toilet. Premises that have so far signed up include The Queen’s Head, The Mulberry, The Nelson, Côte Brasserie and Borellis Wine Bar.

Members of the public will be able to use the facilities during the premises’ opening hours without having to buy anything. Many of the businesses provide baby changing facilities and are accessible to people with disabilities.

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