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Bridport Town Council considers buying toilets
BRIDPORT Town Council is considering buying the public toilets in East Street when they come up for auction next month.
A report on the options – and the financial implications – will go to the finance and general purposes committee meeting next week.
The toilets, situated in the car park, are for sale by auction on October 10 in the Guild Hall in Axminster.
The guide price is £30,000.
In April, West Dorset District Council put in a planning application to demolish them and build two three-bedroomed houses.
The application was withdrawn in August.
Bridport town councillor Ros Kayes suggested the town council should buy the block and reopen the building as toilets.
She said the council had taken on the running of toilets in the past when the district council had handed over the town hall toilets before the town hall refurbishment.
Coun Kayes said the only difference to the council in the current situation would be in the capital expense of buying the building.
She said: “The feeling in the town is strong about this.
“There are letters in the paper virtually every week.
“People don’t like the toilets in South Street being the only toilets at that end of town. They obviously get heavy use because they appear, at times, to not be as clean or as hygienic as they could be.
“It is clear we need other toilets. People are furious, they want those toilets back, let’s save them.
“If they don’t want to build the houses we should grab the opportunity.”
Town clerk Bob Gillis warned that bidding to buy the property would be a big step for the council.
He agreed to report at the finance and general purposes committee meeting next Wednesday on the implications of taking such a step.
He said it always was the district council’s intention to close that site when the South Street public loos opened.
Coun Martin Ray said: “The district council was going to build us some new toilets before we finished the town hall.
“Then they made selling off the East Street ones conditional on building the South Street toilets.”
Coun Dave Rickard agreed the South Street toilets were never conditional on East Street ones being closed.
He said: “That came later.
“They can’t say that we knew it was going to happen, we didn’t know and the people of Bridport didn’t know it was going to happen.”
Leader of West Dorset District Council, Robert Gould said: “The district council has withdrawn its application relating to the old East Street toilet block in Bridport.
“The council agreed in 2010 to dispose of the East Street site once the new toilet block at South Street car park was complete. The council is able to market the site at auction without planning permission and has decided to proceed accordingly.”