RESIDENTS and shoppers in Ribble Valley can now ‘spend a penny’ in shops and restaurants as part of a new Community Toilet Scheme.

Numerous shops and businesses are to make their toilet facilities available to the general public without the need to make a purchase.

The facilities will be signposted and promoted so that they can be easily found or located.

The scheme was launched at Maxwell’s Café Bar in Clitheroe by Ribble Valley Mayor Simon Hore and the Old Station Buildings in Longridge by Longridge Deputy Mayor Rose Adamson.

Coun Hore said: “By providing greater access to toilets, the Ribble Valley Community Toilet Scheme will promote community cohesion and rural sustainability “Older people, parents and those with health problems will be able to maintain a more active lifestyle and confidently enjoy the local environment.

“This is particularly important in a large rural borough such as Ribble Valley, which has restricted access to services.”

More than 20 venues have so far signed up to the scheme, including supermarkets, cafes, public houses and libraries, but more are needed.

In June 2009 a similar scheme was launched by Rossendale Council due to the lack of public toilets in Bacup.