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Vale council may shut all of its public toilets

Vale opposition leader Richard Webber outside the Hales Meadow superloos in Abingdon

Vale opposition leader Richard Webber outside the Hales Meadow superloos in Abingdon

First published in News

PUBLIC toilets across the Vale could be closed to save more than £110,000.

Officers at Vale of White Horse District Council have suggested closing all remaining public conveniences the authority provides.

Two have already been closed in the last year and now the other eight face the axe. Steve King, 60, who lives at the Brewery Complex in Abingdon, said: “This is absolutely not a good idea.

“Ask the Vale council what their staff and councillors would do if they closed down the toilets in their offices.

“They are proposing the same thing for people who work in the town market, and shoppers as well.

“There is no point spending money on the shopping precinct and giving free parking away if they then take away their services.”

Closing all standard toilets in Abingdon, Botley, Faringdon and Wantage is estimated to save £15,000 a year per toilet, a total of £90,000. And shutting the automatic ‘Superloo’ toilets in Abingdon and Grove could save a further £12,000 from each site, a total of £24,000.

The toilet closures are among a raft of cash saving suggestions put forward by council officers to be considered by the cabinet on February 8.

The cabinet will decide whether to include the proposals in its draft £10.48m 2013/14 budget, due to be decided by the full council on February 20.

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Other proposed savings include: Stopping the out-of-hours service to deal with noise complaints, saving £12,000 a year Cut one environment warden post (Saving £36,000) Cut one post from the food team (£46,000) Charge parish councils more to empty dog bins, raising an extra £16,000 a year.

Charge new customers £9 to deliver garden waste bins, bringing in £9,000 a year.

Although the council is not legally obliged to provide public toilets, Lib Dem opposition leader for the Vale Richard Webber said his party opposed the idea of shutting them.

Mr Webber, 66, who lives in Drayton, said: “I feel closing these toilets would have a real bad impact on town centre vitality.

“The town centre is used more and more as place for socialising.

“So, although the toilets are expensive to run, we want to keep them, certainly for elderly and disabled people as an absolute minimum.”

The six public toilets under threat are in Manor Road, and Portway Car Park in Wantage, Southampton Street Car Park in Faringdon, Chapel Way, Botley and in the Charter Car Park and Abbey Meadows, Abingdon.

The council also provides two Superloos, which cost 20p to use, are self-cleaning and open 24 hours a day. They are at Hales Meadow in Abingdon and Millbrook Square in Grove.

Two other superloos, in West St Helen’s Street, Abingdon, and Post Office Lane, Wantage, were closed in July.

Council spokesman Gavin Walton said: “These proposals are yet to be considered by councillors. At this stage it would be wrong to assume that any of these ideas will be taken forward.”

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