Public loos now facing demolition
Last updated at 12:11, Thursday, 29 August 2013
WHITEHAVEN’S only public toilet block could soon be demolished – after councilors confirmed that it will not reopen.
Copeland Council agreed this week that its Market Place toilets will not reopen, despite a 2,000-signature protest calling for it.
And Copeland leader Elaine Woodburn added that because the closed toilet block is still costing the council money, the building will be demolished in the near future unless a group comes forward to take it over.
“The days of this council providing public toilets are over,” said Coun Woodburn. “We now need to set a timescale to allow for any interested parties to potentially take over the Whitehaven block, otherwise it will be knocked down.
“It’s still costing us money, which defeats the object of closing it in the first place due to budget cuts.”
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.
Councillors confirmed at Tuesday’s Executive meeting that, while they acknowledge the petition and strength of public opinion to re-open the toilet block, there will be no change to the policy and the facility in Whitehaven – and those in Cleator Moor and Egremont – will remain closed.
Keith Parker, Copeland’s head of neighbourhood services, said: “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.”
These high figures, the meeting heard, have so far put off potential new operators.
Mr Parker added that Copeland is not alone in closing public toilets due to budget cuts, adding that areas such as Glasgow, Manchester and Cornwall have done the same.
Coun Peter Kane, Copeland’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “This decision was not taken lightly, but there is nothing we can do about it. We are carrying this out on behalf of the government.”
Coun Woodburn now plans to forward the petition Whitehaven Needs Public Toilets to MP Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government.
“It’s a disgrace that we have had do close these toilets,” she said, “but we have had no choice. I admire those behind the petition for wanting to make a difference, and it should be sent to Mr Pickles so he can see the impact of the decisions his government makes.”
First published at 11:54, Thursday, 29 August 2013
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
The comment from "observer" and others is interesting...."Enlightenment will be good" Unfortunately "observer" you won't get it.Here is my take:- The land on which the public loos sit is probably wanted for traffic calming measurers for the Albion Square Development. This will be a good thing for the town generally. Currently, youÃ¢ÂÂre NOT getting the transparency with too many councillors to close to the Nuclear Industry. We need a commitment from the NDA to purchase some land within the town and erect some new loos and pay the business rates on them. It is called something for something.Thank you to "read the letters" for his/her kind words. Your readers may be interested to know I am involved in the setting up of an organisation the primary focus of which will be:-1) Economic Justice for West Cumbria. 2) To ensure that nuclear waste at Sellafield is stored safely and with no "intolerable" risk as the Public Account Committee has identified. I will keep the WHN posted on events. Expect something mid October!
Having read the responses from our elected representatives of the council and noted the out and out rejection of a 2000 person petition, I urge all to think who would be better to run Copeland Council at the next local election. Because it looks obvious to me the present lot are just not up to it.
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