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Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 14:45 UK
Manchester becomes first UK city to provide 'City Loos'
City Loos sign
Shops and restaurants involved will sport a City Loos stickers

Manchester has become the first UK city to throw open its toilet doors in an effort to make being caught short in the city centre less stressful.

City Loos is a scheme put together by the City Council to provide toilets that the public can use guilt-free.

In the past, using shop facilities has come with the feeling that you should buy something in return.

Councillor Pat Karney said those days are gone and that "if you've got to go, you can go in Manchester."

Manchester's shoppers now only have to look for a large magenta sign which reads 'You are welcome to use our facilities' to know they are ok to go inside and spend a penny.

The scheme came about after the council received a large number of complaints about the lack of public conveniences in the city.

Pat Karney and Michelle Atack
Although we have a bit of fun with it, I'll tell you what, if you're stuck with children or you're a bit older, when you need a loo, you have to go
Councillor Pat Karney

Councillor Karney explained that, while they may have been expected to build new toilets, the City Loos response was a much more logical one because of what has happened to the existing facilities.

"Public toilets tend to attract anti-social behaviour, so this is a far better solution.

"Like all cities, a lot of the public loos get vandalised and damaged and people are reluctant to use them.

"Unfortunately, that's the world we live in.

"We do have these continental loos, but everyone's scared that when they put the coin in, the door's going to open, so we know what the problem is there."

The City Loos scheme launched at a handful of locations on Tuesday 6 July, but Councillor Karney said that the number of toilets will soon increase, answering what he said is a serious need.

"We're going to have about 12 in the first phase, go up to 30 soon and I reckon that there'll be about 100 toilets available to the public in the city centre [in the end].

"Although we have a bit of fun with it, I'll tell you what: if you're stuck with children or you're a bit older, when you need a loo, you have to go."

'A safer, cleaner environment'

The Triangle Shopping Centre on Exchange Square is one of those in the scheme.

Marketing manager Michelle Atack said: "We hope it does bring more people into our centre, but that's not why we're involved.

"We want to do our bit to make Manchester more of a family-friendly destination and make it more of a safer, cleaner environment to use the facilities in the city centre.

"We want to make it welcoming for people to come in and [ensure that they] aren't snarled at for using the facilities."

Alongside the Triangle, other stores like the House of Fraser, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges will display the 'City Loo' stickers along with other public venues like MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) and Manchester Arndale.


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