DO Hereford's council-run public toilets close too early?

The answer is a resounding "yes" for one Herefordshire resident, who has started a petition to keep them open for longer.

Hereford man Nick Zweigenbaum is campaigning to extend Castle Green's public toilets opening hours until 7.30pm during spring, summer and autumn and until at least 5.30pm in the winter months.

"It feels like there is no logic behind the open hours," Mr Zweigenbaum said.

"They close at the same time as many students finish college, a full hour before the shops in town close and before many working people are able to come out to enjoy the park and the beautiful weather.

"It seems absolutely absurd that public toilets should close so early. For men, it means having to find a bush or a tree to relieve themselves behind, which is a public decency issue.

"For woman, this is an issue which is deeply sexist as they are left no option but to have to end their time in the park to either go home or to have to trek a long way from the park into town to find a shop."

Amanda Attwood, Chair of the Friends of Castle Green, said the organisation would be happy to provide comment to the council based on the extensive community consultation they carried out recently, where a number of comments were made in support of the public toilets remaining open. Friends of Castle Green has in the past successfully argued the case for the toilets to remain open when they were under threat of closure.

But Herefordshire Council currently has no plans to consider opening the toilets for longer.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: “These toilets are currently opened 364 days a year at 7.30am and closed at 5pm following cleaning, as per the council’s contract with the service provider.

"Following a consultation in 2013, the council signed up to a community toilet scheme with shops, pubs and other businesses to allow members of the public to use their toilet facilities.

"This gives members of the public a wider choice of locations to access such facilities and therefore we are not currently looking to review the opening or closing times of our public toilets.”

Click here to view Mr Zweigenbaum's petition to the council