A bid to reopen Accrington’s town centre toilets is due for a hearing with council bosses after more than 1,500 shoppers and business owners demanded their return.
The Observer is campaigning to reinstate the Peel Street loos - with petitioners due to bring the issue to Hyndburn’s full council meeting for debate on the evening of Thursday, September 21.
Council chiefs have previously cited staffing costs, anti-social behaviour and provision elsewhere in the town for keeping the toilets shut.
Reporter Charlotte Green hit the town’s streets to test public opinion on the matter in the build up to this week’s crunch council meeting.
Shoppers overwhelmingly backed their reopening - although many said they want the previous standard to be raised.
Henrietta Moore, 61, from Accrington, said: “Having them reopened would make it easier for older people.
"Having no public toilets really doesn’t encourage you to come over to this end of town.
"I think we do need them back.”
Mohammad Amin, 33, also from Accrington, said: “Accrington needs toilets, we need toilet facilities and it’s not fair to this side of town.
"There are less people coming past Peel Street, it has become quiet here.
"But I think if they reopened the toilets it would be better.”
Alf Howorth, 74, from Oswaldtwistle, said: “There are no more toilets other than in the market hall unless you go to the bus station, which is a long way from here.
“They should be reopened on this side of town because there are many, many people using the Lloyds bank on Peel Street because it has closed in other parts.
"Having the toilets open might send people back down to the town as well.”
Alan Haworth, 70, from Rishton, said: “It’s obviously supposed to be a convenience.
"Everywhere else you’d have to pay, but there would be toilets in a central location.
"I would want to see them reopen but the council should improve the state of them.”
Emily Lord, 22, from Accrington, said: “It would make sense to put a 20p charge to stop people going in there and messing about.
"It would be good if they could reopen them, especially for older people, but I’d like it if they kept them cleaner, then more people would use them.
"I’ve got a toddler so it would be good for me if they put changing facilities in.”
Stephen Breckell, 66, from Accrington, said: “Apart from the toilets in the Arndale Centre there is no public amenities in Accrington when the market hall is closed unless you go into a cafe.
"It’s not that the toilets were neglected, they were well used.
"If the council shut everything to do with anti-social behaviour they would shut the whole town down.”
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 signed a petition calling for the loos to be brought back into use from Monday to Saturday.
Tellingly, at least 120 of these were 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?