Conservatives demand rethink on toilet cutbacks

Conservative Councillors have made fresh demands for Bath and North East Somerset Council to rethink its programme of cuts and closures to public toilets throughout the area.

Conservatives are set to make a last-ditch attempt at forcing the Liberal Democrat-run authority to listen to the concerns of residents over the changes taking place to public toilets when Councillors gather for a meeting of B&NES Council next Thursday, 11th September.

Conservatives have tabled a motion to the Full Council meeting which asks the Council to call a pause to planned reductions in capacity at toilet facilities throughout the area until residents have been consulted on the proposed alterations and an up-to-date review has been undertaken of the number of toilet cubicles needed at each location.

The strongly-worded motion also criticises the Council for the way in which the toilet changes have been handled and calls upon the authority to abide by a previous resolution, agreed by Councillors last September, which asked the Council to keep open public toilets at-risk of closure until suitable alternative provision had been found and agreed with the local community.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Tim Warren said:

“The way in which the Council has gone about these changes to public toilets throughout the area has caused a huge and unnecessary amount of anger amongst local residents.

“In particular, people feel there has been a complete lack of consultation over the reduction in cubicle numbers at several busy locations. Much-needed modernisation of the toilets is welcome, but adequate provision must be maintained.

“One of our big concerns is that the usage counts at the toilets, on which the planned provision is based upon, were taken as a snapshot over just a one or two week period two years ago. It would be sensible for the Council to have undertaken more thorough counts on several occasions before pushing ahead with such significant changes.”

Cllr Warren added:

“In addition, residents feel the Lib Dems have reneged on a promise to keep open toilets such as those in Larkhall, Combe Down, Weston, Twerton and Peasedown until a private operator was found or alternative provision agreed.

“The whole process has been highly undemocratic and residents feel they haven’t been listened to. Our motion aims to call a pause to these changes so that the plans can be reviewed in consultation with local residents.”