Call to fund public loos from developer cashBy Jon Nurse
July 24, 2012
The row about public toilets in Woodley has been re-ignited following a huge petition calling on councillors to urgently reinstate them.
A petition of 1,600 signatures, led by Greg Bello of Woodley and Whitegates Labour Party, was submitted to the council in May and campaigners expect concillors to discuss it imminently.
Mr Bello said: “There is £200,000 that has been given to the council by the developers of the huge Sandford Farm development for community use and this could be used for a new public toilet facility.
“We have had discussions and there are some units that can be installed in the region of £70,000 for two which can go anywhere in the precinct.”
Campaigners submitted the petition in May but have had to wait for the matter to go before the full council.
Mr Bello added: “I was told the council had discussed the matter recently and it must be at least six months before it can be discussed again. There was some suspicion that it was being deferred until after the local elections but there’s no evidence that’s true.
“When the subject was debated before, some Conservative councillors said the provision was better than what was there before. We don’t know what stance the councillors are going to take but we are hopeful there could be a change of heart.
“I think the availability of Section 106 money could make a difference to the debate this time. I think they have experimented with the Local Loo scheme and found it to be controversial.”
Woodley’s public toilets were closed in 2009 to save £40,000 in annual maintenance costs.
Public toilets across the borough were replaced by Wokingham Borough Council’s Local Loo scheme, which gave businesses a cash incentive for opening toilets to the public.
Mr Bello said: “Since they introduced the Local Loo scheme it has been one of the main issues that has been brought to our attention by residents. They are saying the scheme is inferior to what was there before.Public toilets in Woodley Library are not available for an entire day in the week, and elderly people have told us they find it is too far for them to walk from the precinct to the Oakwood Centre.”