Campaigners say they are ‘delighted’ that their bid for the reinstatement of town centre loos is to get a hearing in front of council bosses.
A petition backed by the Observer urging leaders to reopen the Peel Street toilets in Accrington has gained more than 1,500 signatures, with widespread support from shoppers and businesses.
In a letter, Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson states that he has requested that the campaign be included for debate on the agenda for the next full council meeting on Thursday, September 21 at 7pm at Accrington Town Hall.
Cheryl Duffy, who runs Acorns of Lancashire cleaners on Whalley Road and co-organised the petition, will have the opportunity to make the case for the campaign at the meeting.
She said: “We are actually really delighted with the response and that we are going to be heard by full council.
“We are hoping that this is on the right track and after I have made the presentation on the 21st, on the 22nd the toilet facilities will be reopened.
“How they micro manage then on a daily basis and whether they want to put a charge on them is up to them. But the main reason for putting the petition together, from listening to people and customers, was to get the toilets reopened.”
The council could decide to approve or reject the petition’s request, commission a further investigation into the issue or refer it to cabinet for a final decision.
Cheryl added: “Every council in the whole of the country has issues managing toilet facilities, but they are not all closed.
“The general public shouldn’t be punished because of anti-social behaviour or management issues. 1,500 signatures is just the tip of the iceberg and we are just hoping they will listen to the businesses and individuals that have put pen to paper. We’d like these facilities back.”
The unstaffed toilets were closed from Monday to Saturday in July last year amid anti-social behaviour fears, and are now only open on Sundays.
In the letter Coun Parkinson states: “I have asked that the petition be included on the agenda for the next council meeting so it can be considered and debated by full council. We will be publishing [the] petition on the council’s website. After full council has considered and debated the petition it will then decide how to respond.”
Loos cash is a drop in the ocean
The Accrington Observer is calling on town centre bosses to reopen Peel Street toilets.
The people have spoken and it is time for the council to listen.
Around 1,500 people signed a petition calling for the loos to be brought back into use from Monday to Saturday.
Tellingly, at least 120 of these names came from local business owners.
We all know the challenges faced by Accrington town centre – the pages of this paper are full of stories about it every week.
And we are also all aware of the difficulties local authorities face due to cutbacks – but a thriving town centre is crucial to the future of this borough.
The Observer welcomes the opening of the new bus station and the £2m investment in a new public town centre square.
But it is important that we do not lose sight of the basics.
If people are worried about finding a public convenience – especially the elderly, disabled, infirm and people with young children – they will stay away.
Given what’s at stake, surely the money needed to reopen these toilets through the week is a drop in the ocean?