Public toilets in Weston village and at Larkhall in Bath have won a stay of execution after Bath and North East Somerset Council confirmed that plans to close them would now be put back to April next year.
The Liberal Democrat-run Council had been planning on closing the public toilets from the 1st August, sparking an outcry amongst local communities.
In Weston – following strong opposition from local residents and High Street traders, backed by local councillor Colin Barrett – B&NES has granted the toilets a temporary reprieve whilst it conducts more work on trying to find alternative toilet provision in the area.
Cllr Colin Barrett, who organised a 300-hundred signature petition against the closure plans, has welcomed the news. He said:
“It’s good news for Weston that we have managed to force the Council to back down from closing our toilets this year. Local residents and traders are totally opposed to closing these toilets, which are well used and right on a busy High Street.
“But the battle isn’t over yet. The Council is still planning on closing the toilets from next April. The Council had promised it would keep them open until an alternative is found, so unless a satisfactory alternative is found I will be fighting to keep them open permanently.”
The same proviso applies to the toilets at Larkhall where locals had also put up a spirited fight led by councillors David Laming and Bryan Chalker. A petition with 534 signatures was collected and handed in.
It has been suggested the Oriel Hall community centre should let the public use toilets there but leaders there are not prepared for that to happen and say they will have to lock the front door during the day if the closure goes ahead.
Cllr Bryan Chalker told me:
‘The hope is that we can find a way of avoiding closure of Larkhall Toilets and the decision on June 26 to delay this by Cllr. David Dixon, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods has given us until April 1, 2014 to find a way to fund this vital public facility.
Cllr. Dave Laming and I hope that sponsors can be found to maintain the weekly upkeep of a toilet block which has served the people of Lambridge since 1907.
It’s worth remembering that Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Larkhall Square forms part of that protective shield.’
The toilets are amongst five earmarked for closure unless parish councils or businesses come forward to run them. The deadline now is April 1st!