PUBLIC toilets in a town in Somerset which were set to close due to a 'late change of circumstances' from Somerset Council have been saved.

Shepton Mallet Town Council has revealed that its bid of up to £10,000 to Somerset Council to fund the local public toilets for the 2024/25 period submitted in February has now been accepted.

A spokesperson for the town council said: "Last month we received news that Somerset Council were intending to close a number of public toilets and the ones off Commercial Road in Shepton Mallet were due to be closed on Monday, April 1.

"Thankfully the council had anticipated such cuts and agreed additional budget to safeguard provisions such as these.

"The short turn around of this news will, however, mean that for an interim period the cleaning will be run on a reduced schedule, while we bring long term measures into place."

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

When it was first revealed the toilets would be forced to close, a spokesperson for Shepton Mallet Town Council said: "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.

"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."

In response, 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."