CAMPAIGNERS who fought to re-open Pangbourne’s public toilets celebrated victory on Saturday following a two-year fight.
More than 100 villagers attended a special ceremony as the Station Road public toilets were re-opened, exactly two years since they were closed due to West Berkshire Council cuts.
The newly-named Pangbourne Community Toilets were re-opened after a £15,000 fundraising drive by Action for Pangbourne Toilets (APT) Community Trust, a registered charity set up by residents earlier this year to run the facility on a 99-year lease from West Berkshire Council.
The toilets were officially re-opened by BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Bill Buckley, who was joined by MP for Reading West Alok Sharma, Pangbourne district councillor Pamela Bale (Con) and APT chair of trustees Sir Brian Hoskins.
Guests then enjoyed a slice of celebratory cake specially made for the occasion.
Sir Brian said: “Today’s re-opening is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the APT trustees and our supporters.
“The support from the local community has been brilliant and the money awarded to us by local organisations has been vital in enabling us to commit to keeping the toilets open for the first 12 months.
“Our fundraising must continue so that we can secure the future of the toilets in the longer term, but for now we are very pleased with what Pangbourne as a community has been able to achieve.”
The Station Road toilets closed in October 2015 after West Berkshire Council withdrew funding.
The district council said that the facilities could be kept open by Pangbourne Parish Council if it valued them and was willing to pay for them.
But, faced with a five-year responsibility for the toilets and the yearly £14,000 maintenance charge, the parish council decided it was not prepared to take on the loos.
However, it did vote to open the Recreation Ground toilets for 12 months of the year, which were previously only open for six months.
APT said that the closure would impact older and disabled people living in and visiting the village.