Businesses selling takeaway food and drink should open their toilets – says Richmond Council

Release Date: 19 June 2020

Pubs and cafés across the borough are being encouraged to open their toilets if they are serving takeaway food and drink, and toilets in parks are to be reopened, in a bid to curb antisocial behaviour.

With good weather bringing more people into our parks and open spaces, and a rise in the number of businesses selling takeaway beverages, there has been an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour including public urination, noise and littering.

The Council has been working in partnership with the local Police to try and minimise the impacts of off-sales and street drinking. This includes working with businesses in hot spot areas to ensure that they are complying with the current business restrictions and acting responsibly when it comes to making sure that their customer toilets are open. Officers have also been investigating any public complaints about businesses and will enforce if necessary.

The Council will also be reopening its toilets in local parks and the facilities at the back of Whitton Library. Users of these toilets are reminded that whilst they are cleaned regularly, they are used at the individual’s own risk. Signage regarding hygiene and social distancing will be displayed in all toilets.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee for Richmond Council, said:

"There is NO excuse to urinate in public. We know that many toilets are not available, however we are working hard to make sure that local businesses that are selling food and drink open their customer facilities.

"If you are selling takeaway refreshments – please be a responsible trader and make sure your toilets are available.

"We are doing all we can to open our toilets and this weekend the facilities in our parks and Whitton Library will be available. In line with Government guidance however, at this time we aren’t going to be installing temporary portaloos. These are costly and require rigorous cleansing. But we will keep this under review.

"We are however willing to help businesses open their facilities. And, if they join our Community Toilet Scheme, there is a financial incentive.

"Whilst the Council, Police and local businesses are working together to get facilities open again – residents and visitors also need to take responsibility for their actions. Please think about toilets before you go out and plan your outing so that you won’t be in the position of needing to go to the toilet where there are none available and risking a fine."

In addition to working with businesses currently open, over the next few weeks, the Council will be holding a series of webinars for those in the wider hospitality industry to remind them of the guidance, legislation and expectations of operating during the pandemic. The first webinar is for Pubs and Restaurants on the 23 June from 2pm to 4pm. For those wanting to attend, email:

The Council is also refreshing its Community Toilet Scheme web pages, a scheme that highlights local businesses which enable non-paying customers to access their toilet facilities. For any businesses interested in joining the scheme, particularly to help over the lockdown period – you can apply online here – businesses will receive £350 for three months (until the end of September).

With the weather set to improve over the next few weeks, the message from the Council is clear. Urinating in a public place is not just unhygienic and unsanitary – it is also illegal. If you are out, enjoying our public spaces, and you need the bathroom. Find a toilet. If you cannot - go home or risk a fine.

For more information about the Community Toilet Scheme.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: 235/20

Updated: 30 June 2020