Over 300 people have signed a petition calling on B&NES Council to abandon plans to close the public toilet on Weston High Street in Bath.
The petition was started by the area’s local councillor Colin Barrett (Cons, Weston) after Weston’s public toilet was confirmed as one of thirteen earmarked for closure in the Liberal Democrat-run authority’s budget plans for next year.
Conservative councillors have said that the Council has broken its own promise to prioritise keeping toilets open which are near to parks or where there is no alternative provision nearby. They have also questioned whether the £120,000 saving anticipated will materialise after discovering that several of the toilets set to close are subject to a fifteen-year private maintenance contract.
Councillor Barrett is calling on the Council to rethink its planned closure of the Weston toilet, warning that if the site is left derelict it could prove a drag on High Street trade.
Cllr Colin Barrett (Cons, Weston) said:
“I organised this petition to show the strength of feeling amongst local residents in Weston of the need to keep our public toilet open. It seems madness to close a public toilet which is valued by local people and is on a popular and busy High Street. Traders in the area are up in arms.
“We will fight to keep this toilet open, just as we did successfully a few years ago. The Lib Dems said they would be looking to keep open toilets where there is no alternative public toilet nearby, but have broken this promise here in Weston. I hope that this petition will force B&NES to seriously think again about this plan.”
Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Michael Evans, added:
“The Lib Dems are planning to close down half the area’s public toilets despite not having usage figures for many of the locations or carrying out any sort of meaningful consultation with the local community. The savings the Council expects to make are also very questionable given that we know several of the sites are only half way through a fifteen-year maintenance contract, which the Council would have to buy itself out of.”