Bridport Town Council want stop to sale of redundant toilet block (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Bridport Town Council want stop to sale of redundant toilet block
DEVELOPMENT: The former East Street car park public toilets in Bridport. which are being sold at auction
BRIDPORT Town Council is to ask for the sale of a redundant toilet block to be stopped while it investigates the possibility of running it as a community enterprise.
At Tuesday’s full council meeting Coun Ros Kayes made a plea to councillors to help save the toilets in East Street which are up for auction on October 10 at a guide price of £30,000.
Coun Ros Kayes said she thought people in the town would be prepared to pay more on their council tax to have the toilets.
She said: “I know that to run those toilets would be expensive but I think the people of Bridport would want us to do it.
“Where there is a will, there’s a way.
“We have to think about the message that this gives about our town.
“I don’t think public authorities should be abandoning their duties to the public.
“We all pay council tax, we have an opportunity with the localism legislation to take this on and run with it.
“I don’t think people would mind paying more on their council tax if they knew they were going to get toilets. And there would be people who would be happy to invest in them.”
Coun Dave Rickard said he thought asking shops and cafes to use their facilities instead would be impossible.
Coun David Tett said he had asked the director of planning at the district council why it had withdrawn the planning application for houses on the site and was told it was for the buyer to make the application for whatever development they wanted.
Dr Evans said: “The council is facing an unprecedented reduction in government grant and does not have the funds for extra facilities.
“The capital sum from the sale of the East Street site was to help offset the cost of new toilets in South Street.”
Coun Tett cautioned that it would cost a lot to buy and run the toilets.
Coun Gillian Summers said the town council was the only authority that was free to put up its council tax and having no plans for homes would lower the price and left the way clear for them to remain as toilets.
She added that once the capital outlay was spent there would be the possibility of re-couping costs by charging for their use.
Town clerk Bob Gillis sounded a note of caution, saying it would be difficult with the council’s existing workload to take on another major building project.
He said: “I just can’t see how we could take on another building scheme and deliver all your other projects.”
Councillors voted to get Mr Gillis to discuss with the district council the possibility of halting the auction and looking into a community scheme to run the toilets.