- July 11, 2016
- 531 views
The recent court case between Hull and Newcastle City Councils that resulted in a High Court ruling requiring Greggs to provide customer toilets in its Hull stores raises the debate of toilet provisions in takeaway stores.
Newcastle City Council, the “Primary Authority” under the Primary Authority Scheme (PAS), advised Greggs that it did not need to provide customer toilets as it had fewer than ten seats and was considered a takeaway provision.
Hull City Council successfully protested against the advice and this has become the first challenge to PAS, which could potentially set a precedent for authorities to disagree over regional business regulations.
This may not impact the smaller independent outlets if they operate as one unit in one local authority, however, the ruling demonstrates that big name food and drink retailers, who cover the wider UK, need to ensure they review guidance published by all local authorities before entering a lease, even if they have a different Primary Authority.
Surely there is a better way to bring clarity and uniformity to toilet provision regulations?
One solution might be to create a clear set of government guidelines that enforce the same regulations across the country; these regulations could, for example, set a minimum number for the amount of tables allowed before an outlet is required to provide customer toilets.
However, at a time when the High Street is losing footfall, perhaps the retailer should be allowed to be concerned solely with their individual brand of customer experience, above and beyond the fear of legal repercussion?
Some brands offer comfortable environments, with welfare provisions, while others offer a fast food and drink service with no facilities. Customer decisions on where they purchase is driven by an expectation of a brand and retailers should be allowed to engage customers through their individual brand offering.
For any further information contact Andrew Mather.