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Wharf toilets set to stay open - but you'll have to pay to spend a penny

Public loos likely to be saved, but people will have to pay 20p to use them

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Two Newbury public toilets to close permanently from tonight

AFTER months of uncertainty, the public toilets at The Wharf in Newbury are set to stay open for good – but people will have to pay 20p to ‘spend a penny’.

As part of its plan to save £17.5m this year, West Berkshire Council withdrew all of its funding for the toilets and told Newbury Town Council it would have to find the cash to keep them open.

But, despite putting aside £15,000, the town council was unable to find enough money to do so and the toilets subsequently closed on March 31.

After a public outcry, and coach drivers threatening to boycott the town, the council reopened them for a three- month period to monitor its usage.

Data shows that, on average, 273 people a day used the toilets between the start of May and end of August 2016.

In the last week of August alone, 2,301 people visited the facilities.

As a result, Newbury Town Council now wants to appoint a contractor to install turnstiles and take over the day-to-day running of the toilets.

The council admits the number of people using the toilets could fall by up to 50 per cent if a 20p charge was introduced, but says it doesn’t have the expertise to do it alone.

Newbury Town Council is in the process of signing a 99-year lease from West Berkshire Council to take on the responsibility of the toilets.

Both West Berkshire Council and Newbury Town Council have agreed to pay up to £10,000 towards the initial costs.

However, West Berkshire Council has put in a clause saying it can break the lease with 12 months’ notice if the land is required for development.

In a report to councillors, it says: “Newbury Town Council would like to retain this important facility for the town centre and the people of Newbury.

“This will require a long-term transfer from West Berkshire District Council and suitable arrangements for funding and running the facility.

“If Newbury Town Council does not act in this matter it is likely the toilets will close again, this time permanently.”

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Article comments

  • PeterMarshall

    19/10/2016 - 22:10

    Darn it. We'll have to wait a little longer before we can say WBC haven't left us a pot to pee in. :)

    Reply

  • SimiB95

    19/10/2016 - 18:06

    I'd rather walk to The Kennet Centre and do my business for free!

    Reply

    • NewburyLad

      20/10/2016 - 01:01

      Or you could just find 20p in your pocket and stop acting like some prima-donna spaz. Grow up you utter specimen of failure.

      Reply

  • Moira12344

    19/10/2016 - 16:04

    I lived in Newbury for more than 30 years and have been in Scotland for 13. Here it is normally 30 pence to use the toilets and there is an attendant on duty at the door. To cover an attendant on the minimum wage for up to 12 hours a day you will need more than 22 people an hour using the facilities - that's 264 people a day so turnstiles and 20 pence doesn't seem excessive.

    Reply

  • NewburyLad

    19/10/2016 - 10:10

    Now do the same for the library....

    Reply

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