Park loos to close for half the year

Children’s toilets fought for in a campaign by Matlock residents are to be closed for most of the winter.

Angry councillors have slammed the decision to shut the toilets in Hall Leys Park play area as ‘diabolical’ and ‘senseless’.

Derbyshire Dales District Council could save around £136,000 by closing public conveniences across the Dales.

The money will fund improvements to modernise the remaining toilets.

Toilets in Hall Leys play area and Bakewell Recreation Grounds will now only be open from just before Easter each year until the week after the schools summer holiday. They will also be opened up especially for winter school holidays and for events such as the Victorian Market.

Cllr Steve Flitter said: “The toilets in Hall Leys Park play area were provided by public perseverance and the ‘raise a penny’ campaign.

“Let’s remember the reason they were built because taking a screaming child from one to the other was very, very difficult. They are there for a purpose to cut down on the anguish of parents and children.

“These are for local people not tourists. Grandparents with children do not stop going to the park in the middle of October.”

He added: “To close that facility that was fought for by local people is absolutely diabolical and I hope the leadership reconsiders this issue.”

Cllr Irene Ratcliffe added: “I don’t agree with shutting the toilets in the children’s park. It is senseless and they should not be closing.”

However the plans were voted through with only seven councillors rejecting the idea.

As a result of the review the toilets at Fanny Shaw in Wirksworth will also be demolished and toilets at Birchover, Bonsall, Middleton-by-Youlgrave, Monyash and Over Haddon will also be restricted to seasonal opening between Easter and the end of the October half term holiday.

Town centre toilets in Bakewell have been refurbished and work has resumed Hall Leys Park to build new state-of-the art public conveniences.

The council hopes the toilets will be open at the end of the month following an eight week hold-up by the environment agency.