Parish steps in to keep toilets open in winter

The toilets at Wooler bus station.
The toilets at Wooler bus station.

Wooler Parish Council has taken the decision to stump up the cash to keep the toilets in the bus station open through the winter.

Following a review of public conveniences across Northumberland, the county council had recommended the facilities be closed over winter.

Bryson's Park in Wooler.

Bryson's Park in Wooler.

At Monday night’s meeting of the parish council, members agreed that they had no option but to take responsibility and ensure the loos are accessible this winter.

The decision came ahead of the county council’s proposed closure date of next Monday with the toilets then not reopening until around March 20 next year.

The county council will continue to be responsible for capital expenditure, such as repairs to the building, and rates, but the parish council is responsible for – and will pay for – cleaning and opening and closing the facilities.

It is estimated the cost will be in the region of £900 for the winter and councillors agreed that the toilets should be open from 7am to 7pm, except on Sunday, when they will close at 5pm.

Coun Alfreda Hindmarsh summed up the mood, saying: “I don’t think we have any option but to keep them open.”

Council also in charge of parks

Members have agreed to take on the freehold of Bryson’s Park as they felt it provided more flexibility than the leasehold. For example, a park committee can be set up which can apply for grants that the parish council can’t. Plus, a solicitor said there would not be much difference in the cost of the transfer.

Now, the parish council has to decide whether to pay the county council to carry out weekly inspections and cut the grass or to find its own contractors for Bryson’s and Scott’s Parks, as it now owns both.