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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Loo petition set to be thrown out

WHITEHAVEN’S public toilets will not be re-opened by Copeland Council – despite a 2,000-signature protest call for it.

Members of Copeland Council’s Executive, meeting next week, will acknowledge receipt of a petition called Whitehaven Needs Public Toilets and discuss its contents.

However, the recommendation is that the council makes no change to its public toilet policy and the facility in Whitehaven’s Market Place – and those in Cleator Moor and Egremont – will remain closed.

The toilets were closed in April after Copeland had its funding cut by central government. It must save around £3 million by 2015 and has cut a host of services as a result. Of the cuts, the toilet closure has caused one of the biggest outcries.

Keith Parker, Copeland’s head of neighbourhood services, will tell the Executive members: “This budget reduction means that the council can no longer provide services our citizens have come to expect.

“The cost of direct provision of public conveniences was £41,000 per year to which can be added a further £7,200 in grant support to third parties.

“The toilets in Whitehaven absorbed the lion’s share of these costs, in terms of utilities, non-domestic rates amounting to approximately £18,000 alone.

“Reinstating these costs will require an additional, sustainable saving of an equivalent value to be found.

“We are not in a position to reinstate any of them unless a long-term commitment through third party funding can be agreed.”

Nationally, the Unison union is calling for “free, convenient, and safe access to toilets”.

It claims that council cuts to public conveniences are adversely affecting many workers, including paramedics, transport workers, police community support officers, postal workers and refuse collectors who spend their working day out on the road.

Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, said: “Government cuts to council budgets have led to many closing facilities leaving many areas without public toilets.

“For mobile workers, finding a toilet while on the move is a daily problem.

“The idea that you can just go into a shop or restaurant and ask to use the toilets is just not on. Some are helpful – particularly to those in uniform – but many times people are met with a sign saying ‘customers only’. It is embarrassing.”

Have your say

I say that they should keep them open, if they are worrying about money do what foreign countries do! Pay about 30p to use the toilets and the amount of people who use them, they will have a fair bit of money. I think that's wht they should do!

Posted by Lou on 29 August 2013 at 09:18

It is now time for ALL Copeland councillors to give up all payments and allowances. If they are really serious about representing the people.Also they should consider paring down the senior employees to one or two.
They should also remember that the public toilets belong to the taxpayer.

Posted by Jennifer on 28 August 2013 at 21:07

View all 19 comments on this article

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