PLANS to flush out vandalism in the town's toilets have come under the microscope.

The council's environment and leisure overview committee met at the Civic Offices on Thursday to present a scheme designed to rid Swindon of its unkempt loos.

Coun Michael Bray (Con, Freshbrook and Grange Park), a member of the council's Public Toilets Task Group, said business could play a leading part in alleviating the current problems.

He said: "The answer seems to be a community scheme whereby businesses and eateries in Swindon offer the public the use of their facilities.

"We think this will work not only to prevent vandalism and abuse of our current public facilities but make businesses a bigger part of their communities."

It is not a statutory requirement to provide public toilets but the council allocates around £150,000 each year to keep 23 sites open.

Of those sites, six have been closed because of criminal damage, The task group referred to a successful scheme piloted by Richmond Council.

In exchange for a council subsidy, pubs, cafes and retail outlets would open their own toilets for public use.

Coun Bray added: "The common factor when it comes to public toilets is that people like to use a facility similar to the comfort and cleanliness that they would find at home.

"This is why many do choose to use those in our cafes and pubs that are only really intended for customer use."

The group proposed that for a subsidy of between £500 or £600 a year the scheme is piloted with businesses in the Old Town area of Swindon.

The group did suggest however that the toilets currently closed should remain so and that the toilet block in Victoria Road should be considered for closure.

Coun Sinead Darker (Con, Central) supported the findings. She said: "Public toilets are used in areas that are attractive to shoppers so it makes sense that these areas are the ones to take on the scheme."

Committee chairman Glenn Smith (Con, Covingham and Nythe) said: "With developments such as Wichelstowe needing some kind of local centre. We should suggest that adopting the community toilet scheme is a part of a planning agreement with shops in areas of new development."

The report will now be submitted to the council's Executive Committee for consideration.