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Derbyshire Dales council agree toilet charges and closure consultation

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Derbyshire Dales District Council has launched a public consultation on the possible closure of some public toilets.

Conversations are ongoing with town and parish council over possibly taking the facilities over, as the district council looks to cut the £467,000 it spends on maintaining 26 toilet sites every year.

Councillors held a special meeting on Thursday, March 8, to consider a radical overhaul of toilet provision as they seek to meet a budget shortfall of £1million over the next three years.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Dales said: “Although the council remains committed to delivering the frontline services local people and visitors have come to expect—such as street cleaning, environmental health and refuse collection—the drive to make efficiencies means it has to look at the services the authority is not required to provide, including public conveniences.”

Residents and visitors to the Derbyshire Dales have already been asked for their views on the matter in a consultation last autumn.

The new consultation will ask them to now specify which loos on the potential closure list they use most, the potential impact of any closures and how that impact might be mitigated.

At Thursday’s meeting, councillors agreed to introduce a 20p charge for the use of toilets in six particularly busy locations: Matlock’s Hall Leys Park, Granby Road and the Recreation Ground in Bakewell, Shawcroft in Ashbourne, Matlock Bath Memorial Gardens and Matlock Bus Station.

Following the consultation, councillors will meet again to make a final decision on the future of Ashbourne’s Recreation Ground and Cokayne Avenue, Bakewell’s Riverside and Agricultural Way, Birchover, Cromford Market Place, Darley Dale, Artist’s Corner Matlock Dale, Matlock Bath Pavilion, Matlock Hall Leys Park Play Area, Monsal Head, Monyash and Thorpe.

Community Asset Transfers have been agreed with partner councils for facilities at Ashford in the Water and Wirksworth, while Eyam parish council are proposing to undertake a one year lease in return for a 50 per cent contribution towards running costs, subject to review in 2019.

Negotiations are also underway about the possible transfer to parish councils of the public toilets in Bradwell and Bonsall.

The loos at Middleton by Youlgrave are to be retained as a 26 week per year facility during April to October each year without charge.

To help plug the gap of any closures, the district council will instigate community toilet schemes, where local businesses will be asked to allow members of the public to use their loos free in exchange for a small grant.

The council will also be exploring new sponsorship and advertising options at retained public conveniences.

A separate consultation will be undertaken on the possibility of introducing a 20p additional levy for car parking and £1 for coach parking to help towards the cost of retaining toilets in rural car parks at Baslow, Over Haddon and Hartington.

The online survey will be available from next week at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/toiletsconsultation.

The full report to Thursday’s meeting is available online at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/committee and a video of the meeting can be viewed on the council’s YouTube channel.