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Kidderminster toilets face closure unless someone takes them on

Dudley | News | Published:

Public toilets near a popular park at Broadwaters in Kidderminster are threatened with closure unless someone agrees to take on the responsibility.

Wyre Forest District Council has decided that the responsibility for toilets which are not well used should be transferred to local community groups.

But the Friends of Broadwaters Park in Kidderminster say that their members are too old to take on the responsibility and that half are women who would not want to close up the building at night.

In a letter to councillors members said that many disabled groups visited the park which was wheelchair-user friendly with footpaths having been repaired and resurfaced at a cost of £39,000 from money raised by the Friends group.

They said that many passing vehicles stopped for passengers to use the facilities as well as young mothers with small children which made the toilets even more essential.

The Friends claim that there will be no maintenance savings even if the toilets are closed because electrical switching, fuses and timing systems for the park lighting are contained in the block and will need to be kept in good order,.

Chairman Michael Abraham said: "Our reasons for not taking on the responsibility are that our members are mainly well over retirement age and at least half of them are female and we felt that the job was too onerous specifically with the locking up of the block in the evening.

"We consider that there are some responsibilities that are those for a council.

"The decision to close the block is for monetary reasons.

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"If financial cuts have to be made they should be from services that are not essential, not ones that are in continual daily use by the young and infirm and are of miniscule cost in the overall council budget.

"For these reasons we believe that the toilets should remain open."

Wyre Forest council leader councillor Marcus Hart said: "The council took a decision to keep key toilet blocks open and to look to preferably transferring less utilised ones to local community groups.

"Closure is a last resort.

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"Sadly, while the Friends of Broadwaters do an excellent job they do not wish to take on the responsibility for the toilets.

"We are looking to see if one of the local pubs would take on the responsibility for a fee under a community toilet scheme.

"I hope this is successful as if not they will close but this is after all avenues have been exhausted."

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