Mass opposition sparks hopes of U-turn over public toilets closures

CAMPAIGNING: Margaret Tucker and Gayle Rodgers with Shipley market traders who are opposed to the Council's decision to close the town's public toilets

OPPOSITION: Campaigners against closure of Bingley toilets are, (from left), Donald Wood, Jackie and Michael Church, Terry Brown, of Bingley Civic Trust, Ros Dawson, of Bingley Community Council Group, and Jag Picknett

First published in News

CAMPAIGNERS battling to save public toilets in Bingley, Shipley and the St Ives beauty spot from closure hope the sheer scale of opposition will now force councillors into a U-turn.

The move to shut the loos was contained in a cost-cutting budget which Labour-run Bradford Council have largely blamed on central Government funding cuts.

But those fighting the decision insist the toilets are an essential public service for both town centres and the countryside estate.

Now their petitions collectively signed by more than 6,000 people have been officially lodged prior to a full meeting of the Council on Tuesday.

In Shipley, traders' leader Barry Cooper said he had faith the Council would listen to the voices of the people.

"We have more than 2,300 signatures lodged, have more to take on the day and expect to have 2,500," Mr Cooper said.

"If the will of local people counts for anything, this petition should be impossible to ignore.

"The Council's consultation on its own budget went on for months and only got 3,224 responses from voters - whereas we got nearly as many in four weeks.

"We have the support of Shipley MP Philip Davies and all three Green ward councillors."

Conservative MP Mr Davies has strongly stated his support for all three campaigns in his constituency.

Mr Cooper called on the full Council to be fair to those outside the city limits.

He said: "There are no proposed toilet closures in the city itself - it's time for Bradford Council to re-evaluate how it is going to treat the towns.

"This is about everyday life - what do they expect the elderly, children, pregnant women, bus drivers, travellers and residents to do without toilets?

"Shipley is a transport hub, yet we don't have toilets on the railway station.

"Not a penny was spared on the fantastic Tour de France - now they should focus on regenerating the towns particularly as Westfield is now on track."

Terry Brown, of Bingley Civic Trust, said its petition had attracted more than 2,000 signatures and said Bradford Council risked appearing hypocritical.

"In its Local Development Framework it says Bingley's profile should be raised and that they want to make it a "principal town" like Keighley and Ilkley," Mr Brown said.

"So how can they close the town toilets which are essential for the community and tourists who will always need somewhere to 'go'?

"Bradford Council's left hand and the right hand don't seem to be working together."

St Ives, a beauty spot and educational centre at Harden, presented the largest petition against the cuts.

"Our total figure for paper and on-line was 2,513, with 2,394 for Shipley and 1,803 for Bingley," said Friends of St Ives spokesman Pam Laking.

"It shows the love, emotion, outrage and anger over this.

"Without labouring over bowels and bladders, a lot of our visitors are elderly and are really concerned they might not be able to come here again.

"And today we have 60 Asian schoolchildren from inner Bradford here who are ecstatic to be out among nature.

"The schools will simply not bring them in the future unless there are toilets.

"Everyone is vehemently opposed to the closures."

Councillor Andrew Thornton, the executive member for environment, said: "Clearly this is a very deeply felt issue and was always going to be a difficult area but it's a position the Council finds itself in having to make cuts of £115 million over the next three years.

"We are in an extremely difficult place and councillors are faced with having to make some unpopular decisions.

"We have addressed this in a full and frank way, we have widely consulted and have listened and some changes have been made."

Comments (6)

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7:04am Wed 9 Jul 14

johnh1 says...

The problem comes down to money as usual.
The toilets need manning otherwise they will be vandalised.
So they need to charge a price that can cover the costs
Perhaps the council could maintain the fabric of the building
As a gesture of support. While the charge pays for staff.
The problem comes down to money as usual. The toilets need manning otherwise they will be vandalised. So they need to charge a price that can cover the costs Perhaps the council could maintain the fabric of the building As a gesture of support. While the charge pays for staff. johnh1
  • Score: 12

8:42am Wed 9 Jul 14

angry bradfordian says...

Surprise, surprise... it's all the governments fault!

I can't remember anyone from the council praising the government the other day when they gave them millions of pounds to build yet another office block....
Surprise, surprise... it's all the governments fault! I can't remember anyone from the council praising the government the other day when they gave them millions of pounds to build yet another office block.... angry bradfordian
  • Score: 7

9:48am Wed 9 Jul 14

Baildon girl says...

A regular traveller through Shipley Our routine is to get off the bus and go to the toilet before the next bus, Asda is quite a walk away for little legs who are desperate for the loo. Apart from the pubs and cafes where else have toilets easilly available? Cant see businesses happy to have families trailing through just for the toilet.
What is wrong with the council? Are things really that bad
A regular traveller through Shipley Our routine is to get off the bus and go to the toilet before the next bus, Asda is quite a walk away for little legs who are desperate for the loo. Apart from the pubs and cafes where else have toilets easilly available? Cant see businesses happy to have families trailing through just for the toilet. What is wrong with the council? Are things really that bad Baildon girl
  • Score: 10

9:58am Wed 9 Jul 14

damraf says...

Saltaire toilets are unmanned and are relatively free from criminal damage and they are getting saved from closure.
Saltaire toilets are unmanned and are relatively free from criminal damage and they are getting saved from closure. damraf
  • Score: 9

2:03pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Papa Smurfs Wig says...

Are there any toilets left on the city centre? I know there were some in city hall but l was told they had gone. If so where do the ever so nice street drinkers go for a lag?
Are there any toilets left on the city centre? I know there were some in city hall but l was told they had gone. If so where do the ever so nice street drinkers go for a lag? Papa Smurfs Wig
  • Score: 3

4:42pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Kay1950 says...

The council needs to use a bit more imagination over the issue of public toilets and look at good ideas from other areas. For example, where there are alternative facilities in coffee shops and pubs, the facility could agree with the council to allow the public to either pay to use the toilet or provide it free and get a small payment from the council or rebate on their business rates. This would free up council money to continue to provide toilets at places like St Ives where there are no practical alternatives.
The council needs to use a bit more imagination over the issue of public toilets and look at good ideas from other areas. For example, where there are alternative facilities in coffee shops and pubs, the facility could agree with the council to allow the public to either pay to use the toilet or provide it free and get a small payment from the council or rebate on their business rates. This would free up council money to continue to provide toilets at places like St Ives where there are no practical alternatives. Kay1950
  • Score: 4

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