The six Independent councillors – sitting on B&NES – say they are outraged by the decision to close the public toilets at Larkhall, Weston and Peasedown St John without notifying the local residents or the Ward Councillors.
This decision – they say – has been taken behind closed doors despite the Liberal Democrats promoting themselves as a “listening council”. After nearly 2 years of working with the Cabinet, and in the case of Larkhall the two local Councillors Dave Laming and Bryan Chalker have even provided a solution. Cllr Dave Laming said “I am so disappointed after putting in so much effort to work with the Cabinet and for my residents to be so badly let down”. Cllr Bryan Chalker has been bombarded by local residents asking for an explanation, while Cllr Malcolm Lees will be pressing the Leader of the Council on why they have reneged on their promise to keep the toilets of Weston open.
Meanwhile Conservative Councillors in Keynsham have also expressed anger at the news that B&NES Council is to push ahead with plans to cut capacity at the public toilets in Keynsham’s Memorial Park.
Under plans drawn up by the Council’s contractor Healthmatic, capacity at the public toilets in Keynsham’s Memorial Park is to be reduced to just one unisex cubicle and one disabled toilet. Currently, the park has two ladies’ cubicles plus one male cubicle and a urinal.
The announcement that the Lib Dem-run Council is to push ahead with the changes comes despite the fact a 675-signature petition calling for the plans to be reconsidered was organised by local councillors and presented to the B&NES last month.
The six Conservative councillors representing the town have said they feel ‘angered and betrayed’ by the fact B&NES has ignored their pleas, and have pointed to the fact the Council has agreed to amend its plans for other public toilets in Bath.
Councillor Charles Gerrish (Cons, Keynsham North) said:
“We are extremely disappointed that the Lib Dems have completely ignored our petition calling for a rethink of these plans. Along with local residents, we feel angered and completely let down by the Council.
“Residents and park users have repeatedly told us that they are deeply concerned that the cut in toilet capacity could result in longer queues at busy times, particularly during summer holidays.”
Fellow Keynsham Councillor Marie Longstaff (Cons, Keynsham East) added:
“There is still time for the Council to halt these plans, rethink them, consult with park users and ensure there remains adequate toilet capacity at the Memorial Park. The Council has amended its plans in other locations to increase planned toilet capacity, such as at Bath’s Victoria Park, so it’s clear they could do the same here if they decided to listen to our genuine concerns.”
B&NES explanation for the closures is covered in a neighbouring article here on the Museum page.