Further confusion over public toilet ‘fiasco’

The future of public toilets in Larkhall and Weston village in Bath has been thrown into further confusion by Bath and North East Council.

At a meeting of the authority’s Liberal Democrat Cabinet last Wednesday, 10th July, in answer to a question from Conservative councillors, it was confirmed that the toilets in Weston would remain open ‘until a replacement has been agreed’, but that the Larkhall toilets were still earmarked for closure from next April.

Adding further to the uncertainty, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods did not confirm that the Weston toilets would stay open ‘permanently’ unless a suitable alternative is found.

The news has led to accusations of confusion and double-standards by the Liberal Democrat Cabinet, with Conservative councillors calling on the Council to clarify the future of the toilets for residents.

Councillor Geoff Ward, Conservative Shadow Neighbourhoods spokesman, said:

“This whole thing has been completely mishandled by B&NES right from the start. First the toilets were going to be closed from 2014, then not until replacements were found, then the closures were brought forward to this August. Now some will close in August, some in April, and some we simply don’t know the future of. It’s a complete fiasco.

“It’s hard to understand why the Council can be definitive about the closure dates of some toilets but not others. This confusion is unfair on residents, who deserve to be given clarity over the future of their public amenities.”

Weston Councillor Colin Barrett (Cons) added:

“We’ve now been told that the Weston toilet will remain open until a replacement has been agreed, but bizarrely the Council won’t use the word ‘permanently’. At the same time, Larkhall’s toilets have been given a firm closure date of the 1st April. So we don’t know what the Council will do if no alternative is found for Weston. Will they remain open permanently or not? The Council needs to end this uncertainty and be straight with residents.”