pn4537 Charge Pic 1CHARGES, aimed at deterring vandalism and anti-social behaviour, come into effect at the toilets at Middlesbrough Bus Station next week.

Users will be required to pay 20p to use the facilities on the main concourse at one of the region’s busiest transport hubs from Monday, August 15.

The turnstiles are now in place but will be kept open and payment will not be required until then. Signage has also been put up in the station to notify travellers of the changes.

The move follows a major programme of investment and improvement at the Bus Station to improve the overall visitor experience.

Previously the toilets had been beset by instances of anti-social behaviour, vandalism and were regularly the subject of complaints by visitors.

As a result a review was undertaken that sought to look at options aimed at making the toilets a safer and improved facility for users.

Consultation was undertaken over the proposed charges, with the majority of respondents saying they would be willing to pay to ensure the revamped facility remained clean and safe.

The income generated from the charges, along with energy saving measures, will produce a budget saving but the primary aim is preserving the newly refurbished toilets as a safe and clean environment.

Payment will be made via turnstiles, and change machines are located just outside the toilets.

As part of the refurbishment, the downstairs men’s and women’s, disabled access toilets and baby changing all now use energy saving lighting and non- touch flushing systems, while CCTV is also in operation to prevent anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said: “The feedback we’ve had since the improvements were completed has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The toilets are cleaner, safer and more modern, and this small charge will help maintain them as a facility that visitors to the bus station are happy to use.”