Council not flush enough for toilets

Have your say

Two public toilets are set to close in Belper - after councillors refused to spend a penny of the £16,500 it costs a year to run the facilities.

Amber Valley Borough Council are shutting the ablutions at the Triangle from November 2, with the main toilet in Strutt Street earmarked for closure next March.

Shoppers caught short in the town centre will have to use the council-run facilities at the River Gardens, which will be refurbished as part of the plans.

Councillor Chris Emmas– Williams said of the current state of those toilets: “I visited the facility in River Gardens with my grandchildren and it’s a disgrace. It’s not open when it’s supposed to be open, it smells awful and there’s no soap or anything.”

Fourteen closures across the borough, including toilets at Crich and Heage, were rubber stamped at a full council meeting on Wednesday, September 26 - saving the authority more than £63,000 a year.

Toilets at Ambergate and Duffield have already been shutdown.

Councillor Stuart Bradford said: “Public toilets are abused. Quite often they are used for everything but what they were designed for.

“I suspect very few ladies use public toilets _ they always dive into a supermarket or big store.

“Public toilets have cost us an awful lot of money - just to see them trashed.

“We have got to get people more continental in their thinking.”

It is hoped to replace the toilets with a Community Toilet Scheme (CTS) whereby local organisations are given £600 to make their toilets available to the general public.

Subway in Belper had volunteered for the scheme when it was first proposed.

However the takeaway has since closed and no other organisations have come forward.

Around £10,000 is being set aside by the council to run the scheme across the borough. One business has volunteered in Heage.

Leader of the council, John Nelson, said after the meeting that businesses on King Street and Bridge Street in Belper would now be approached.

“If I was running a business, I would consider opening my toilet for £600,” he said.

However, Councillor Paul Smith said: “It’s a 12-month contract, what happens if these people walk away after 12 months?”

Parish and town council’s were offered the opportunity to take over the toilets, but so far only Ripley Town Council has expressed an interest.

Councillor Marlene Bennett said she had spoken to many people who were against the closures.

“I’m totally opposed to any toilets being closed. I wish someone would just go and monitor how many people use those toilets.

“Four different bus drivers used the toilets at Alfreton bus station while I was there. One of them said to me : ‘It looks as though we are going to have a lot of wet wheels’.”

Councillor Steve Hayes responded by saying usage levels had already been monitored:: “We know how often they use them - so I don’t think that holds water.”