A makeover of Oxford’s toilets worth nearly half-a-million pounds will make them loos “worth coming to the city for”.

That’s the view of a city council chief who claims the £420,000 revamp of the city’s public toilets will attract international attention.

The cash will upgrade Oxford City Council’s 24 public toilets, including a long-awaited revamp of the Gloucester Green conveniences, in the next three years.

But bus station visitors may have to pay up to 50p for the privilege, the council’s John Tanner said. The Labour councillor added: “This is a dream I’ve had for some time, to improve the quality of toilets in Oxford.

“You have utilitarian metal aluminium WCs. We’d like to make them a bit more inviting.

“I would like people to come to Oxford to use our toilets.”

He said plans included improving the standard at Gloucester Green.

“It is an international toilet,” he added. “People come from all over the world to use the Gloucester Green toilets and I think they look a bit dreary.”

The cash will “definitely” be spent in the next financial year from April, he said, subject to the council budget being agreed tonight.

In October 2010, the Labour-run council reneged on a £300,000 pledge to upgrade the loos that year, saying it was out of cash.

But Mr Tanner said funds were put aside last year in case cuts did not save enough – but there is now enough left over to do the work.

The decision on whether to charge is “50/50” said Mr Tanner, and charges would be 40p to 50p to ensure a “particularly high quality”.

He said: “I am interested in what people think, whether that would work or not.”

The redesign has not been agreed and, while china bowls are an option, there are fears these could be vandalised.

The Oxford Mail has reported the city council’s toilet troubles in recent years.

In 2008, bosses closed the toilets in St Giles, between Woodstock and Banbury Road, over health and safety fears.

They opened in 1895 but the council said people caught short risked being run over while crossing the dual carriageway.

The following year, there was an outcry after the council proposed closing 11 loos to save £50,000 a year. It eventually closed two.

It has worked with shops to offer nine more loos to shoppers, but business leaders have questioned whether more would take up the offer.

Deputy Liberal Democrat group leader Mark Mills said his party backed the Gloucester Green plan but said: “Not long ago Oxford Labour proposed closing large numbers of toilets. It was only after a campaign by us that they backed down so they’ve changed their tune.”

Council savings introduced last year included a hike in parking fees and charges for collecting garden waste.