Shops urged to fill void left by shutdown of public toilets

A Belper councillor has hit back at criticism over the closure of public toilets by urging businesses to open their loos to the public for a yearly fee.

Cllr John Nelson said he wanted many more firms to sign-up for the Community Toilets Scheme after facilities at The Triangle and Strutt Street were earmarked for closure.

He asked Belper town councillors to help encourage firms to take part at a meeting last night.

The plea comes after several letters to the Belper News, asking the council to keep the toilets open.

The ablutions at the Triangle were shut on November 2, with the main toilet in Strutt Street due to shutdown next March.

Mr Nelson said: “People keep saying we are not concerned about this, but we are concerned.

“The question is where do you save £1million. With the financial restraints we have got this will help.”

So far, De Bradelei mill has signed up for the scheme and firms in Derwent Street, King Street and Market Place have expressed an interest.

Mr Nelson continued: “The more the merrier. I believe it’s a good idea.

“People use public toilets for anything but what they were meant for. The toilets in Belper have previously been vandalised and copper pipes stolen from toilets in Amber Valley.

“But at a shop or a restaurant there will always be someone on the premises.”

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 plan s.

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

Toilets at Ambergate and Duffield have already been shutdown.

Among those objecting to the closures is Alan Wragg.

He said: “I find this an unbelievable situation and I would urge the council to have a re-think.”

Belper Arts Festival co-ordinator, George Gunby, said: “Surely it’s unfair to expect shops and restaurants to open their toilets to the public. ”

And Wes Parkin said: “I have not heard a councillor say that they would open the town centre council offices.”

See Letters on Page 8