Soho al fresco scene
Soho al fresco scene

West End Labour’s Councillor Pancho Lewis has welcomed the introduction of improved West End Weekend Public Toilets and Cleansing Preparations as a result of his representations and pressure from local residents and the Soho Society.

In an email to Councillors, Mark Banks, the Council’s Head of Waste & Parks, said:

We will be increasing the temporary public toilets provision from 12 urinals/6 portaloos last weekend to 18 urinals/12 portaloos this weekend.  We are also extending the scheme so that it is in place from Friday night to Monday morning (from Friday night to Sunday morning last weekend).  This level of provision will be in place for at least the next four months and will also include Bank Holiday Mondays and any major weekday events.  The units will be left in place for the duration of the weekend with emptying/cleaning being carried out in situ (intensive usage last weekend meant most units were too heavy to be lifted/removed and incidents were happening during the daytime when units were not in place).  The list of locations for all units is included below – these will continue to be adjusted in response to emerging issues.  All portaloo sites will also be regularly monitored by City Inspectors in close liaison with Veolia.

Street cleansing operations are also being enhanced for this weekend. Last weekend the daytime street sweeping operation started at 3am (rather than the normal 6am start) to ensure the West End was clean before businesses opened in the morning and this worked well. This arrangement will remain in place and we are also introducing a “mini-Pride” level of resource with additional flushing vehicles, sweepers, and a rapid reaction cleaning team available throughout the weekend – this will be funded from the covid grant. 

Signage has also been prepared to notify visitors of the planned closure of Soho Square Gardens at 4pm on both Friday and Saturday which should help alleviate local issues. City Inspectors and Police will support the parks team in ensuring visitors vacate the garden at the revised closing time.

  • Wardour Street j/w Old Compton Street (2 urinals 1 portaloo) 
  • Soho Square j/w Carlisle Street (2 urinals 2 portaloos) 
  • Soho Square j/w Bateman Buildings (1 urinal and 1 portaloo)
  • Great Marlborough Street j/w Carnaby Street (2 urinals and 1 portaloo)
  • Broadwick Street j/w Berwick Street (1 urinal and 2 portaloos)
  • Broadwick Street APC site (2 urinals and 2 portaloos)
  • Romilly Street j/w Shaftesbury Avenue (1 urinal and 1 portaloo)
  • Charing Cross Road j/w Orange Street (2 urinals and 2 portaloos)
  • Oxford Street junction Great Titchfield Street (1 urinal)
  • Jermyn Street (1 urinal)
  • Great Windmill Street (1 urinal)
  • Tenison Court / Kingly Street (1 urinal)
  • Ramillies Street (1 urinal)

Earlier this month, Councillor Pancho Lewis had written to residents to tell them:

“In the days and weeks to come I’ll be keeping a close eye on the 2021 covid al fresco arrangements and will feedback concerns regularly to senior Council officers and decision-makers. 

Some of this will be what I observe directly, for example, yesterday it was abundantly clear that the promise of no vertical drinking wasn’t being upheld in parts of Soho (e.g. junction of Broadwick & Berwick St), and that elsewhere there was insufficient space between tables to allow for social distancing (in Old Compton Street this was very clearly an issue). But it would also be helpful to hear from you what you see isn’t working and which promises aren’t being upheld – I’ve already had issues of street urination and music from speakers after pubs close being fed-back.

Please do feel free to share with me issues and I will incorporate these into ongoing representations to the Council.” 


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