Public loos are axed

INCONVENIENT: Heckmondwike public toilets are to close.
INCONVENIENT: Heckmondwike public toilets are to close.

PUBLIC toilets in Heckmondwike are to be closed.

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet decided to axe the unmanned conveniences off Oldfield Lane as well as toilets in 10 other towns to meet its budget agreed in February.

Other toilets to close are in Birstall, Batley, Mirfield, and seven in South Kirklees.

Toilets in Cleckheaton market will stay open.

The toilets will close immediately but the buildings will be retained for 12 months to give people a chance to come forward with ideas.

Closing the unattended toilets or handing over the running of them to communities will save the council £151,000 each year.

At the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Coun David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) said: “We have spent a great deal of time talking to local communities but not one community group has come forward.

“Two groups have come forward since it has gone to press but we haven’t got the money.

“We have tried to find solutions for the past 18 months

“We have already expressed an interest in giving anyone a chance to come along with a solution.

“But it is not for the council to be spending money because we haven’t got any.

“I think they will be missed but there are quite a few toilets around the area.”

Heckmondwike Business Alliance chairman Simon Thirkill said the decision was ‘a travesty’ – and he would do what he could to try to save Heckmondwike’s facilities.

Simon, who has been running the Blue Moon Cafe in Westgate for six months, said: “Since I have been in Heckmondwike there has been no public discussion about this.

“It is yet another service that will take people away from Heckmondwike to Cleckheaton and Dewsbury.

“These facilities are essential and whenever there is an event in Heckmondwike we will have to bring in portable toilets.

“I will see if there is a way of keeping them open.”

No jobs will be lost and cleaning staff will be reassigned.