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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Traders hit out as loos finally close

TRADERS have expressed concern for the future of Whitehaven Market after the closure of the town centre’s only public toilets.

unhappy: Some of the market traders unhappy about the closure of the public toilets – from left, Johnny Ramzan, Michael Walker, Irshad Shah and Rhett Harrison

The James Street facilities – along with all the other council-owned public toilets – were closed on Friday as part of Copeland Council’s budget cuts.

Traders on the market, which has already dwindled in size over recent years, now say that the closure could end the market for good.

Rhett Harrison, who has a watch stall, said: “Whitehaven has to be the only town in the country of its size to be without a public toilet.

“For traders to be here for seven or eight hours a day and have no toilet facility to use is a real problem. We don’t use cafés and pubs in town simply for a toilet break as that would be taking advantage of their premises.

“That’s to say nothing about others in town, including shoppers, tourists and people doing the Coast 2 Coast. It is a basic amenity and I am personally very concerned for the survival of the market and the town.”

Irshad Shah, who has had a clothes stall for 20 years, said: “It will be very difficult to cope for us traders, and it will deter people from coming to town. I spend two days here, and two days on Workington Market – where there is a public toilet.

“We used the public toilet in Whitehaven – and would be happy to pay for it if it were to stay open.

“This is a real concern for everyone in the town.”

Other public toilets in Copeland to close include Cleator Moor Square and Chapel Street, Egremont.

Pat Graham, Copeland Council’s director of services, said: “We are really sorry that we have had to close public toilets. Unfortunately, we can no longer afford their upkeep due to big cuts in our funding from Government.

“We can only now deliver ‘must do’ statutory services, and we have no statutory duty to provide toilets. We are, however, very open to groups in the community who are interested in taking over the running of these services or providing alternative options.”

Copeland Council has opened two new recycling sites in the borough.

It is no longer collecting plastic and cardboard recycling from residents’ doorsteps, and has opened new sites at Adams Hall, Arlecdon, and Mirehouse Community Centre. These are in addition to the following recycling points: Cleator Moor Co-op; Distington Main Street car park; Egremont Chapel Street car park; Whitehaven’s Morrisons and Tesco; Cleator Main Street car park; Frizington Road car park; Hensingham Square; Pica Main Street car park; Seathwaite Avenue, Whitehaven.

Have your say

I visited Whitehaven on 17th July. After parking the next thing I did was go to the public toilets. I was very surprised to find them shut. No sign to say whether they were closed temporarily or permanently. No directions to nearest alternative (nearest toilets Barrow?). Looking for tourist information I stopped at the Beacon and was told the tiolets were permanently closed and TI had closed in March. I used the toilet at the Beacon even though I wasn't a patron. There was just one multi-sex facility at the cafe. Imagine a coach load of visitors all desperate for a pee. Councils that don't encourage visitors should be voted out of office.

Posted by Jeff on 18 July 2013 at 11:50

I suppose it's the same everywhere in our country and make no mistake, cost cutting hurts everyone. However why not make a by law to say that any public house, cafe, restuarant, shop, or superstore etc with a toilet for customers, should be able to accept the outside public to use their ammenities as they do in other countries in the EEC.

Posted by peter S on 15 May 2013 at 16:26

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