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Crunch talks on future of toilets
VISITORS to Bridport have an urgent need for the public toilets in the East Street car park to be reopened as soon as possible, according to town councillors.
Members of the plans committee heard that West Dorset District Council is asking for a meeting to discuss the future of the loos, closed earlier this summer after the opening of the new public conveniences in the car park off South Street.
The public toilets on the ground floor of the Town Hall, off Bucky Doo Square, were also lost as part of the refurbishment project.
The district council is currently considering a ‘community loo’ project which could see all council-funded public toilets disappear and local businesses providing ladies’ and gents’ which would be open to all.
Town surveyor Daryl Chambers said that West Dorset seemed to have the options of selling off the car park toilets site for development within the conservation area along King Street, or creating more parking spaces.
“This is an opportunity for the town council to give them a steer, “ he said.
Coun Ros Kayes said that people were ‘absolutely fuming’ at the loss of the facilities.
“We have never approved the closure. Yes, they could get a couple of houses on there, but I think people would prefer to have them as toilets.
“The first thing people say when they arrive in town is ‘why are those toilets closed?”
“I think that we need to do quite a bit of lobbying to keep these toilets.”
One suggestion was that the town council could take on the toilets for an experimental period while the district decides their long-term future.
Coun Eddie Colfox suggested a solution could be to develop the site with a two-storey building with business premises above and public toilets on the ground floor.
Coun Phil Lathey said: “We need them open and we need to show that they are being used.”
Coun David Rickard said: “We should make it very clear that we shall have no truck with the community toilets scheme – we want proper public toilets.”
Councillors also asked the town surveyor to make sure that the new toilets and the new tourist information centre were clearly signposted as soon as possible.