Don’t let the Ravenscourt Park lavatories go down the pan

Here is some recent correspondence I have had with the Council’s Parks Manager Ian Ross concerning the state of the public lavatories in Ravenscourt Park:

Ian,

I attended the Friends of Ravenscourt Park AGM this evening. Concern was expressed about the state of the lavatories – both the ones by the paddling pool and the ones by the cafe.

Please advise what the current opening hours are and whether these could be extended.

Please detail the current arrangements for cleaning and what checks are put in place to ensure a high standard is maintained.

Also please advise what is being done to ensure they are generally good condition.

I must stress that the feeling of the meeting was that they are in a disgusting state.

Furthermore the minutes for the meeting a year earlier showed that the same concerns had been made – yet no progress has been made.

This is particularly disappointing given the substantial unallocated Section 106 money for property developments near the Park.

Best wishes,
Harry

He replied:

Dear Councillor Phibbs,

Thank you for your email regarding the public toilets in Ravenscourt Park.

The toilets by the cafe are open all year in-line with park opening/closing times.  The toilets by the paddling pool are open while the paddling pool is in operation from 8am until 4pm – the remainder of the year they are closed.  Cleaning is carried out by Quadron as part of the grounds maintenance contract.  Inspections are made by officers on a random basis.

While every effort is made to keep them in a good condition we have to accept that the toilets are now ageing and this does impact on our ability to keep them clean; likewise we cannot mitigate for misuse and vandalism – it is amazing what some people think can be flushed down toilets.

I am aware of the Friends views of the toilets; this is a topic for discussion on our regular walkabouts.

I note your comments on unallocated S106 funding but the final allocation is approved by the Cabinet.  To this end we have a number of bids in for S106 funding in our parks across the borough.  We have also submitted a bid for money from the Planned Maintenance budget.  The latter also includes looking at the sewage outlets.

I am hopeful one of our bids will be successful.

When we have any news we will update you and the Friends.

Kind regards,

Ian

Ian Ross

Parks Manager

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

I responded:

Thanks, Ian.

The checks by officers on a “random basis” seem to be completely failing to resolve the problem. Please provide details of how often the checks take place and what has been reported.

The lavatories are frequently filthy state as I presume would have been discovered by these checks.

Please provide details about the requirements on Quadrant to maintain minimum standards and what penalties are in place for their failure to meet those requirements.

Best wishes,
Harry

He then replied:

Dear Councillor Phibbs,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.  The checks by officers happen approximately every 2 weeks but this can vary.  The vast majority of reports have been in relation to block toilets and urinals, and vandalism (damaged locks, etc.).

Quadron are scheduled to clean the toilets daily, in reality they are done more than once a day.  However we cannot mitigate for misuse, vandalism and theft – this is a major problem and only needs one person to misuse the facility, which then creates an issue for everyone else.

In terms of penalties for non-compliance; the penalty clause element of the contract was removed as part of a £220k saving negotiated in 2011.

Please be assured that refurbishing these facilities is a priority for us as it take up significant time dealing with issues and complaints, time that could be used to better effect.

Kind regards,

Ian

Ian Ross

Parks Manager

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

Let’s us hope that since this a “priority” there will some improvement in the coming months – and we won’t have the same complaints repeated at the next Friends of Ravenscourt Park AGM for the third year running.

One thought on “Don’t let the Ravenscourt Park lavatories go down the pan

  1. “the penalty clause element of the contract was removed as part of a £220k saving negotiated in 2011.”

    That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read related to a contract negotiation. Why would anybody agree to remove the only thing that forces a supplier to deliver to a basic standard? I know councils are more pressure than ever to reduce costs even if it means reducing quality of service but suppliers still have to deliver the service theyre being paid for. That’s just poor procurement Hammersmith, very poor procurement.

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