1,600 want Bingley toilets to remain open

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: PETITION: Opponents of the threatened closure of public toilets in Bingley PETITION: Opponents of the threatened closure of public toilets in Bingley

Bradford Council has received a 1,624-name petition protesting against the closure of Bingley public toilets.

The signatures have been gathered through an e-petition, in shops and churches and by groups and individuals in the town over the last month.

More petition sheets are still being collected so the final tally of objections to the closure, due in 2015, is likely to rise.

The petition was handed to Coun Andrew Thornton, a member of the council’s executive committee and portfolio holder for environment, sport and sustainability, at a meeting in City Hall on Monday by two of the lead petitioners Ros Dawson and Jag Picknett.

Also at the meeting were Coun David Heseltine (Con, Bingley) and principal cleansing officer Damian Fisher.

The petition is now likely to be debated at full council on July 15.

Mrs Dawson, a Bingley resident and chairman of Bingley Community Council Group, said: “The size of the petition reflects the strength of feeling among people in the town about the closure of the toilets.

“People are also unhappy at the failure of the council to consult properly about the issue. A big thank you to all those who’ve gathered signatures and signed the petition.

“People tell me regularly they didn’t know about the decision to shut the toilet and they want the council to keep the facility open,” Mrs Dawson said.

“They are an essential amenity for the town, they were only opened in 2005 and we need to do everything we can to keep them.

“Thanks to the size of the petition, we now have the opportunity for this issue to be heard by the full council.

“However Coun Thornton has made it very clear that he cannot make additional funding available for Bingley toilets so the future of the facilities is still uncertain.”

Mrs Dawson said Coun Thornton told Monday’s meeting that the council “could not go back in time” and change the budget decision.

However, Coun Thornton said that the ultimate decision about which toilets stay open in the Shipley constituency, which includes Bingley, would be made by the Shipley Area Committee in the autumn.

The council has now agreed to publish a list of all 20 toilets in the district that are earmarked for closure.

Coun Thornton has always maintained that toilet closures are the result of cost-cutting measures necessitated by a reduction in funding to the council from central government.

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