PUBLIC toilets in a town in Somerset will soon close due to a 'late change of circumstances' from Somerset Council.

From Monday, April 1, public toilets in Shepton Mallet will be closed for the foreseeable future.

The toilets, which are owned by Somerset Council, were one of many public services across the county which the council has become unable to fund due to its financial emergency.

On Tuesday, February 27, Shepton Mallet Town Council offered up to £10,000 to fund the local public toilets for the 2024/25 period, but Somerset Council are yet to agree on a suitable figure, or whether the responsibility of the toilets should be delegated to the town council.

A spokesperson for Shepton Mallet Town Council affirmed they are working to re-open the toilets as quickly as possible - and that the public toilets in Collet Park are owned by the town Council so will remain open.

"The public toilets are owned by Somerset Council, when they declared financial difficulty in the autumn Shepton Mallet Town Council identified the public toilets as an area at possible risk," the spokesperson said.

"At a Full Council meeting on Tuesday, February 27, it was resolved to open negotiations with Somerset Council, offering up to £10,000 to fund the public toilets for 2024/25.

"The town council has not resolved positively to transfer, just to begin negotiations so that they have a clearer picture.

"It was anticipated that we would have a year to gather data around use, maintenance, antisocial behaviour etc, but due to the very late change of circumstances from Somerset Council there is likely to be a period of closure while we put new arrangements in place.

"We will do all we can to minimise this period of time.

"The public toilets will be closed on Monday, April 1 and the town council is working to re-open them as quickly as possible."

A spokesperson for Somerset Council said: "The financial emergency facing this and other councils across the country is well documented and will have very real impacts on local people.

"In order to set a balanced budget for 2024/25 and bridge a funding gap of £100m, Somerset Council have had to take some difficult decisions and make savings by reviewing non-statutory services that we greatly value but simply cannot afford.

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