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Theale's public toilets could become a house

Parish council rejects offer to reopen the loos

Theale's public toilets could become a house

THEALE Parish Council has rejected the idea of bringing the village’s public toilets back into use. 

The facilities, at the end of High Street, closed around 10 years ago and have sat unused since.

In 2014, a private developer approached West Berkshire Council with the intention of purchasing the loos and converting them into houses.

At the time, the district council was in the process of offloading the responsibility of running public toilets on to town and parish councils in order to save money – and Theale Parish Council did not reach a decision.

The offer, and the loos, fell by the wayside for three years but now the developer has approached West Berkshire Council with its plans for toilets once again.

Theale parish councillors discussed the future of the toilets at a meeting on Monday. 

Chairwoman Becky Williams said: “Do we still think Theale still requires public toilets?

“Are we willing to go back to West Berkshire Council and say we would like to consider taking it over?

“From West Berkshire’s point of view they are trying to offload assets when they can.”

Mrs Williams said that “the clock was ticking” as West Berkshire Council wanted a timeline as to when the parish could reopen the facilities. 

She added that the parish council only received comments about the public toilets once a year, during the Christmas lights event. 

Parish clerk Jo Friend said: “It could be transferred for a nominal sum but we would then be responsible for it... we would have to pay rates.” 

However, she added that she couldn’t see the parish council doing anything with the toilets for at least two years. 

“I can’t believe they are considering building a property on that site,” said Iain Hopcroft. “It doesn’t make sense in any way.

“Do you think there’s demand for the toilets? I don’t think they will be massively used.” 

Paul Clifford backed up the claim by saying that the public toilets were in the wrong place, a view agreed by other councillors.  

Parish councillors also discussed the “unwelcome usage” that could take place in the toilets, adding that a reason the toilets initially closed was because of drug use and ‘meetings’ taking place there. 

Parish councillors dismissed the idea of bringing the public toilets back into use.

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