Disabled group in plea to re-open loos

A disabled group piled on the pressure this week to see public toilets re-opened in Belper, saying it had been “inundated” with complaints.

Amber Valley Access wrote to Belper Town Council after the conveniences, which had been paid for by Amber Valley Borough Council, were shut down due to cost cuts.

It comes as the town council revealed this week it was thrashing out a deal in a bid to re-open the public toilets in the town centre in Strutt Street.

Access chairman Keith Boot urged town councillors to consider following in the footsteps of Crich Parish Council and take on the management of the loos.

The group’s plea was also strengthened by the fact a petition has been raised against the closures with a call for the town council to use its reserve funds for the project.

The borough council has replaced the closed public loos with the community toilet scheme whereby shops and firms open up their loos to the public to use instead.

The group’s letter stated: “Amber Valley Borough Council took the decision to close public toilets in the Amber Valley area.

“This decision has caused stress and concern to many disabled people and we have been inundated with calls and letters.”

Leader of the town council, Cllr John Nelson, said the group’s comments had been taken on board and the council has been working hard behind the scenes to fix the problem.

“We need to take everything into consideration before acting. When decisions are taken at councils, they don’t happen overnight. Belper Town Council listens to what the community has to say.

“We don’t just react. We have got to make sure it’s right and sustainable before going ahead with anything.

“Otherwise, we could take the toilets on and five years from now realise we have no money and wonder where it has all gone.

“The devil’s in the detail, but we do have a masterplan which we are trying to bring to fruition.

“We have looked at everytihng, including opening our toilets at The Coppice.”

Figures obtained by the Belper News this week showed Belper Town Council has has more than £364,000 in the bank – of which £278,000 is classed as reserve funds.

Amber Valley Borough Council had spent £16,500 a year running toilets at Strutt Street and The Triangle.

Mr Nelson added: “That money in reserves is for a specific project. We are hoping to have allotments and we have to spend a lot of money on them.”

n De Bradelei Stores on Chapel Street opens its toilets from 9.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday; 9.30am to 6pm, Saturdays and 10.30am to 6pm on Sundays.

Meanwhile, St Peter’s Church opens its facilities from Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1.30pm and all day on Sundays as part of the borough council’s community toilets scheme.