BUS campaigners have called on Somerset Council to keep “indispensable” toilets open at Yeovil bus station.

The public toilets at Yeovil bus station are due to close on Friday, May 31, with neither Somerset Council nor Yeovil Town Council claiming they had sufficient funding to keep them open.

The Wells Bus Users Group has called on this decision to be reversed, citing the experience of disabled passengers and concerns about the future of the bus station site.

Somerset Council said that it would try to “reduce the impact” of the closure and would work to preserve bus services if the station site was sold off.

The toilets and waiting room, near the Glovers Walk shopping centre, currently cost £70,000 a year to operate.

Yeovil Town Council has stepped in to run numerous local facilities in light of Somerset Council’s financial difficulties, including the Yeovil Country Park and the Yeovil Recreation Centre (known locally as Mudford Rec) – but said it did not have sufficient funds to run the bus station toilets as well.

A spokesman said in late-March: “The bus station public toilets and waiting room require significant investment at a time when the future of Glovers Walk is unknown.

“The cost of running these toilets to an acceptable standard is in the region of £70,000 a year, an amount which is not within our budget.

“We continue to operate and manage the public toilets at Petters Way and Peter Street and can confirm that there are no plans to close these facilities.”

Rosa Kell, a leading figure within the Wells Bus Users Group, called for Somerset Council to rethink the issue when the full council met in Bridgwater on Tuesday afternoon (April 23).

She said: “We travel to Yeovil, it is a major town for us. Disabled and diabetic passengers require a toilet getting off at the bus station – they are indispensable to us.

“What action is being taken to ensure that passengers travelling through the Yeovil bus station can use the toilets and waiting room to shelter, given that the passengers have long stays in Yeovil awaiting buses?

“What progress has been made by the council in their discussions with Yeovil Town Council and Buses of Somerset in locating a site for a new bus station?

“Our passengers are greatly concerned that due to Somerset Council’s financial crisis this important essential facility may disappear.”

Glovers Walk, the bus station and part of Lower Middle Street were put on the market by Alder King Property in late-October 2023 at a guide price of £1.75m – and is currently listed as being ‘under offer’.

A brochure produced for the property envisions the redevelopment of the site into 216 flat, 6,000 sq ft of commercial space and a 2,200 sq ft bus interchange – though no formal plans have yet been submitted.

Councillor Richard Wilkins, portfolio holder for transport and digital, said: “We needed to make some every difficult and heartbreaking decisions in the last months to set a balance budget.

“Those decisions included the closure of public toilets because of the cleaning and maintenance costs.

“We appreciate that this is a difficult decision and reduces facilities available for bus users, and we continue to seek opportunities to reduce the impact of these changes.

“We appreciate there are concerns about the potential impact of the sale of the bus infrastructure, and once a sale has been completed, we will be able to engage with the new owners to understand their intentions and ascertain if there will be any impact on the bus station’s operations.

“We will then be able to determine what, if any, action is necessary to maintain the appropriate facilities for bus users.”