ONCE more for the people at the back: "You have a gender neutral toilet in your house" is not the argument ending zinger you think it is.

Is the bathroom in your house findable on the Great British Public Toilet map? No? Well, if you're relaxed about complete strangers turning up and using your toilet whenever they fancy, do create an account and add your loo to the database. It'll come in handy for a great many folk, I'm sure.

Following a consultation that was quietly launched last year, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick is now moving to rewrite planning regulations to compel public buildings to have separate male and female toilets.

The move intends to address concerns around an increase in the introduction of mixed sex toilets. These, in turn, aim to make toilet provision more gender inclusive by allowing anyone to use the facilities they feel are right for them without fear of discrimination.

Done well, they can meet that aim while also increasing provision for women and cutting queueing times. Done badly, as they often are by premises attempting to be inclusive but without time, money or space to invest in a toilet redesign, they reduce provision and can exclude women.

The worst stabs at creating mixed sex provision is to simply change the signs on the doors. Men's toilets become "cubicles and urinals" while women's toilets become "cubicles only".

This serves little but to make the "cubicles only" room a space for absolutely everyone and keeps the "cubicles and urinals" room for men. Women are less inclined to use a space where they know they'll have to pass men using urinals. Ditto parents with young children or carers and the people they are assisting.

Despite much discussion about the needs of trans people, there doesn't seem to be any push to become more inclusive by putting sanitary bins in men's toilets.

To make mixed sex toilet provision as effective as possible, it has to be designed that way - fully enclosed stalls with individual hand washing facilities and, ideally, an attendant on duty.

These still have their issues. In bars or clubs, in particular, where people have to walk along a corridor to get into the cubicles women can feel unsafe.

Some women will simply never feel safe in a mixed sex facility and it has been distressing, as the toilet debate rumbles on, to see women online revealing deeply personal information in order to justify not wanting to share toilets with men. They simply should not have to do so.

These proposed planning changes don't affect Scotland but uniting us all is the fact we too have to wee. There has been a great deal of discussion about the issue of gender neutral toilets here also and it will be interesting to keep one eye on the debate down south as it unfolds and finalised proposals from Westminster are published.

Presumably there will be opposition from architects who feel they need flexibility in planning legislation in order to design toilets that best meet the needs of those using particular buildings.

While there's no sign of the Scottish Government getting involved in the gender toilet debate, we could be doing with continuing the lavatory conversation started during the pandemic.

When travel restrictions eased last year but public facilities were still closed, we managed to kick off a discussion about the need for improved public conveniences as the crisis showed exactly how difficult public life would be with no public lavatories.

We're moving slowly out of the crisis and toilets are reopening. Yet what we do have is substandard in quantity and quality. Aside from the important debate about providing inclusive provision - and that must highlight accessible toilets - we must prioritise public provision.

Since 2008 local authorities have been closing public toilets to save costs. Age UK, while petitioning for the Scottish Government to make improvements, found that three local authorities in Scotland had no public toilets at all and nearly 200 council run loos had shut in the six years to 2019 - around one in four. The charity said its research found almost half of older people in Scotland said that they would use public transport more if they could rely on provision of toilets.

Disability Equality Scotland has also raised concerns about the lack of access to public toilets for disabled people.

Inadequate or inaccessible toilets impedes people's access to public life. It's such a vital issue yet is pushed down the priority list when it comes to cost cutting.

A listener was quoted on BBC Woman's Hour yesterday as saying that she'd know full equality had been achieved when there were no longer any queues for the ladies.

That seems like a halcyon dream but it shouldn't be. It's not asking a lot, just decent facilities for a most basic function.