A row is brewing after town centre public toilets have been closed amid anti-social behaviour fears.
Hyndburn council bosses said the unmanned toilets on Peel Street are ‘potentially dangerous’ to vulnerable people, including children and the elderly.
The facilities will now be closed from Monday to Saturday with the public being directed to use the facilities in the Market Hall and new bus station.
The announcement comes a week after we revealed that county hall bosses would be charging people 20p to use the toilets at the new £6.4m bus station on Crawshaw Street, in a bid to deter vandals.
Former council leader Peter Britcliffe said he was “amazed” closure proposals first raised five years ago had resurfaced.
He said: “When I was leader I tried to reduce the hours to save costs and I was absolutely pilloried from all sides, from every party and the public.
“I’m amazed that having fought to save them the council is now closing them. I do think it is vital to have toilets in the town centre.
"I know there are some in the new bus station, but they cost 20p a time so the cost of spending a penny is quite high there.”
Back in 2011 campaigners were successful in keeping the toilets open after proposals to shut them three days a week to save £10,000 a year were tabled by the controlling Conservative group.
‘Ladies’ and ‘gents’ potties were placed outside the toilets in protest at the closure.
Coun Clare Cleary, portfolio holder for the town centre, said the closure is temporary and no long-term decision has been made.
But she added: “The problem we’ve had with the bus station toilets is we haven’t had enough staff to man them permanently and what’s happening is we are getting a lot of anti-social behaviour and drug and alcohol abuse.
"They are potentially dangerous to vulnerable people like children and the elderly.”
She added: “Now that the bus station has moved I don’t feel there will be the same need for it because there are toilets in the new bus station, Market Hall and the Arndale so I think we’re well served.
“We will be keeping the toilets open on a Sunday for the antiques market because the Market Hall is closed.
“It’s not going to be popular but as the Peel Street area develops we will keep an eye on it.”