Keeping the Amenities Open

25 August 2018

Bournemouth Green Party Councillor Simon Bull has successfully campaigned to have the public toilets reopened in Winton Recreation Ground.

His success was reported in the Green Herald, the Green Party monthly newsletter which stated: 

"Green Councillor Simon Bull has successfully got the public toilets re-opened in his local park; Winton Recreation ground. They had been closed since last summer and were set to remain so until Simon got the ball rolling after a request from a local resident. He met with parks and local police to discuss the issues. The Head of Parks agreed to reopen them and is now working towards a bigger plan to open a café in the cricket pavilion."

Simon is also working to reopen the Winton Library Garden, and Dorset Eye, the online news service covering the county, published an item in July about his campaigning.  In the article Simon says that he and local Green Party activist Chris Rigby were working to get Winton Library Gardens reopened. This is a lovely space that should be available to be enjoyed by local residents. At the council meeting on 19th June he asked about the gardens which have been closed for too long.

Winton Library Gardens are not the only amenity that the residents have been missing out on due apparently to anti-social behaviour. Simon believes that if we keep closing facilities every time there is some kind of problem we will have nothing left open.

The toilets at Winton Recreation Ground are important amenities for quality of life. People should be encouraged to use outdoor spaces for their health and enjoyment, and having toilets on site is essential for parents with young children, the elderly, the disabled, and people with some medical conditions. Getting out and having exercise can improve people’s health and therefore reduce the cost to the NHS.

The toilets were closed for a while due to anti-social behaviour including drug use. The clean-up cost each time they are misused; to remove blood, human waste and fluids is £500 money that the Parks Department does not have in its budget.

The warm weather we have had in the last few weeks has increased the use of this popular park and having an open public toilet for residents and visitors to use is important. We want people to make the best use of the open green space and having no toilets can seriously restrict and prevent this. Simon met with the parks department and the police to see what plans could be put in place so that the toilets can be available while deterring and preventing the anti-social elements.

Winton Recreation Ground has seen a rise in anti-social behaviour over recent times including a burnt out car, stolen scooters driven and dumped and abuse of the toilets. Simon has done a number of litter picks across the park; on his own, with his children and with other residents; there is always plenty of other peoples’ rubbish to be found despite litter bins being provided.

The park is an important space to Simon and his family as it is for many local families. He has taken his children there from a young age, they have learnt to cycle there, played in the children’s play area and, the younger ones, in the sensory garden. The boys have used it for cubs and scouts and have played tennis in the courts there. He has been pleased to be in a position to contribute Local Improvement Fund money to having a gate installed where previously the fence was repeatedly damaged by people climbing over and through it. He has offered some of this years reduced fund towards installing a people and dog water fountain which he hopes will be of benefit as the summers get warmer.

The full Dorset Eye report can be read here.