Matlock Bath residents are steaming with the district council after it replaced 12 public loos with ‘just two portable toilets’ – and now their struggle for adequate facilities has suffered a new blow.
Derbyshire Dales District Council decided in March that crucial structural work was needed at the public privies in the Memorial Gardens, and has installed two blocks of temporary loos until the work is completed.
Angry at the temporary provision, the Friends of Matlock Bath delivered a petition containing more than 2,000 signatures to a meeting on July 16, but have now been told the service would remain until at least the end of the year – with public consultation starting next week.
A committee report said this is likely to take until October and would see work start after the New Year, costing at least £175,000 for repairs “at a time when public finances are tighter than ever.”
But the group is more concerned that no action has been taken in the meantime to provide adequate facilities, said owner of Hodgkinson’s Hotel Chris Hipwell, a Friends of Matlock Bath member.
He added: “For the number of people who come here, it’s pretty bad they only replace the 12 with two.
“It’s not good enough – the Illuminations are coming up and their attendance last year was over 100,000 people. Where are people going to go to the toilet?”
A spokesperson for the council argued that the two blocks of toilets actually provided seven toilet cubicles, three gents’ urinals and an accessible temporary lavatory.
He added: “There is no more room at the Memorial Gardens for additional temporary loos over and above the blocks we installed back in March to get the village through its busy tourist season, but we will be discussing the possibility later this week of providing additional facilities elsewhere in Matlock Bath.
“As the organiser of Matlock Bath Illuminations we are of course conscious of the needs of the thousands of people we attract into Matlock Bath every year, boosting the local economy.”