ONE of the public toilets in Taunton town centre will close permanently at the end of this month.

Somerset Council said the toilets on Paul Street will close on March 31 and back in January said it would cost £20,000 to bring each of the seven cubicles up to a better standard for the public.

The unitary authority informed Taunton Town Council of the decision yesterday (Thursday, February 29).

Taunton Town Council said: “Somerset Council have notified us that the public conveniences on Paul Street will permanently close from March 31, 2024.

“The nearest alternatives can be found at Canon Street Car Park, Castle Green, and Vivary Park.”

A spokesperson for Somerset Council said: “Somerset Council was able to set a balanced budget for the coming financial year after members agreed to a range of measures to bridge a funding gap of £100m.

“Among these were cuts to non-statutory services and changes to the way some discretionary services such as public toilets are provided.

“Some of the services initially put forward for savings were protected through devolution and partnership working with city, town and parish councils.

“The Paul Street toilets in Taunton, having not been devolved, will now be considered as part of the ongoing evaluation of council property and assets.”

The closure of public toilets in the town centre was on Somerset Council’s list of proposed cuts after the authority announced a financial emergency.

After a full council meeting in February, Taunton Town Council agreed to take over three services previously run by Somerset Council which were at risk of closure due to the financial crisis at Somerset Council - CCTV, Taunton Visitor Centre, and the locking of Vivary Park Gates.

A town council’s spokesperson added: “Taunton Town Council currently provide public toilets across the town, with Castle Green, Canon Street Car Park and Vivary Park facilities in the town centre.

“We have set aside a portion of the budget to improve and develop those, starting this year.

“Conversations with Somerset Council are ongoing, any decisions around whether Taunton Town Council would take on further assets or services would need to be taken at a meeting of the full council.”