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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Cumbrian town could lose public loos to save £16k a year

Longtown could be at risk of losing its public toilets.

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John Mallinson: Need ‘friendly commercial environment’

The lavatories at Bank Street are under threat because of Carlisle City Council cuts.

Officials told Councillor John Mallinson – who represents Longtown and Rockcliffe on the authority – of the risk and he has now informed Arthuret parish council.

He said: “On the public toilets in Bank Street, the city council is actively considering their future.”

Mr Mallinson added that he believed this meant they could be closed. But he also said he had heard of a possible alternative to these lavatories.

He said: “What they are thinking of doing is asking that the community centre let their toilets be used as public toilets.”

Mr Mallinson insisted, though, that any discussions were at a very early stage.

The Bank Street lavatories in Longtown are open during daylight hours. They have conveniences for women, which include baby changing facilities, and for disabled people.

Mr Mallinson suggested that if the toilets were closed, the building containing them could be demolished with the site sold off afterwards.

The community centre in Longtown is on Arthuret Road, just under a third of a mile from Bank Street.

Other community leaders in Longtown were unhappy with the news. Parish councillor Gordon Routledge said: “It is disappointing to hear that another facility is under threat of closure.”

He added that Longtown’s play equipment was also under threat and there has also been speculation over the future of the multi-use games area.

Councillor Ray Bloxham, who also represents Longtown and Rockcliffe on the city council, said: “I am also disappointed that another facility is going. My disappointment is that it seems to be a surprise to the parish council.”

Mr Bloxham insisted that any plans to get rid of the toilets would have to be discussed with members of the parish council.

A city council spokeswoman said: “The Bank Street toilets currently have a running cost of around £16,000 a year.

“A suggestion has been forwarded to relocate the public toilets to Longtown Community Centre. Not only would this result in a year-on-year saving and longer opening times, it would also encourage more visitors to the community centre.

“Initial discussions have taken place. If the suggestion is progressed there will be further consultation.”

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