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Wiveliscombe toilets closure decision 'unsound'
THE closure of the public toilets in Wiveliscombe was “unsound” and “should be reconsidered”.
That’s the view of the town council, which has written to Taunton Deane Council to oppose the decision to shut the facilities earlier this month.
Councillors met for the first time last week after the closure and expressed their dismay at the lack of consultation.
In a letter to Deane leader John Williams, town council chairman Bryn Wilson said: “We are not happy with this decision and believe that by failing to consult, or conduct any survey of usage, the Deane’s decision to close our toilets is an unsound one and should be reconsidered.
“Initially, we assumed that by deciding it could save money by closing various toilets the Deane took a conscious decision based on usage figures, but from one officer's email we have learnt that ‘there is no data on usage available as we do not measure or record this’.
“This immediately raises the question: what is the specific reason for closing any of the toilets, or, indeed, keeping any of them open?”
Mr Wilson believes the town needs a toilet block for visitors, particularly during the tourist season.
He said: “If Wiveliscombe alone must find an additional £11,600 annually it will increase the council tax bill by nearly 50%, while our taxpayers will also pay the full Deane rate to keep toilets open in the largely unparished areas of Taunton.”
As reported in March, a ‘dowry’ of £11,600 was offered to the town council to help run the toilets over the next 12 months.
The aim was to ‘buy time’ for the council to set a precept for future years, but the offer has been refused and the facilities closed on April 1.
A Deane spokesman said: “We’re talking to Wiveliscombe Town Council with the aim of keeping the conveniences open.
“The council’s aware of the concerns exp-ressed by the town council and hopes to be able to reach a satisfactory agreement.”
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