Toilet opening times anger play centre

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A children’s play centre is pleading for councillors to open public toilets in Belper’s River Gardens for longer after staff allegedly suffered abuse.

Chucklebutties said people were urinating against the side of their building when the nearby Garden’s toilets were locked.

The appeal comes as it was revealed this week that other loos at Belper’s Strutt Street will close at the end of March after three businesses agreed to fill the void by opening up theirs.

Toilets at the Triangle in Belper have already been closed down.

Meanwhile, in nearby Heanor, the public loos will remain open for the time being after no businesses agreed to open up their loos to the public as part of the borough council ‘community toilets’ scheme.

Chucklebutties owner, Steph Jansen said this week: “We get countless requests for the use of our toilets at weekends by people who are visiting the River Gardens, as the public conveniences are often locked, even at busy times.

“My staff are dealing with people who are in desperate need of a public toilet, and don’t want to hear that our policy prevents them from using ours. It is not unusual for people to get abusive, or even to urinate against the side of the premises, and my employees are dealing with this week in week out.

“It is just not acceptable to leave it to local businesses to provide such an important public service, particularly in a town which wants to attract tourism.”

There are no plans to close the toilets at the River Gardens, which have no set opening times and are only open when a member of the borough council’s landscape services team is working at the site.

The council has offered local businesses the opportunity to sign up for the ‘community toilet scheme’, for an annual payment of £600.

The Strutt Street loos will be replaced by toilets at DeBradelei Mill, Fresh Basil and St Peter’s Church.

The closure is expected to be approved at a meeting of the full council on March 4. The borough council is due to carry out checks to ensure its replacements are up to scratch.

A report to the council by assistant director for landscape services, Simon Gladwin, said: “Site visits of premises participating in the scheme are due to be conducted during early spring, to ensure that the supplied signage is displayed appropriately and that the toilets continue to be maintained to a satisfactory standard. A letter will be sent to any premises failing to meet the standards.”

De Bradelei Stores on Chapel Street will open its toilets from 9.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday; 9.30am to 6pm, Saturdays and 10.30am to 6pm on Sundays.Fresh Basil will open from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday.Meanwhile, St Peter’s Church will open from Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1.30pm and all day on Sundays.Each of the three toilets has disabled facilities. Public toilets in Duffield have been replaced by Appletree Medical Practice, while theloos in Heage are being provided by the Black Boy pub.