The battle to save Bingley’s public toilets has begun with the start of an on-line petition against Bradford Council’s cost-cutting decision to close the town centre amenities.
And the move to strip Bingley of the modern loos beside the Arts Centre has been branded another blow to the town as it recovers from the loss of the Bradford and Bingley building society and development delays by Sainsbury’s supermarket.
Terry Brown, of Bingley Civic Trust, is spearheading the campaign and explained the reason for the petition against axeing the toilets – a closure which would save the Council £38,000 a year.
“The toilets which were opened in 2005 are to close in 2015 and in my position as vice-chairman of the trust I have raised a petition on the Council’s own website,” he said..
“It only went live last Friday and we already have 275 signatures.”
He said his group had not been consulted by the Council prior to the decision.
“Essentially we were not made aware this was under consideration and if we get at least 1,500 signatures on the petition this will ensure it is discussed at a full Council meeting,” he said.
“Just as we are trying to pick ourselves up after the blow of losing the Bradford & Bingley HQ and then delays over Sainsbury’s development of that monstrosity, this happens.”
He added that the toilets in front of the swimming pool were only nine years old and closing them would be a waste of the initial money spent on building them.
“Bingley is down on Bradford Council’s list of principal towns for the future and yet they are planning to take away something which is vital for residents and visitors,” Mr Brown said.
Ros Dawson is campaigning to create a new town council for Bingley and said this was an example of why such a body was desperately needed.
“We need to speak up for Bingley – keeping the toilets open is essential.
“Sometimes it feels as if Bradford Council is trying to shut down the town,” Mrs Dawson said.
“Anything it owns in Bingley, it seems to want to close,” she said.
Councillor John Pennington (Con, Bingley) said he was opposed to the closure. “I believe that services like public toilets are the very least we should be offering.
“These are basic amenities and there should be amenities for all.”
The Labour-run Council’s executive member for environment, Councillor Andrew Thornton, said the suggested closure of the toilets had been publicly discussed and detailed in the media.
“There have been many difficult decisions due to the need to make budget savings and this was done through democratic process and clearly outlined in Council meetings, in newspapers and on radio,” said Coun Thornton. However, he said any petitions would be noted and that ongoing discussions were taking place with town and parish councils about the possible future running of the district’s toilets.