The future of public toilets which were under the threat of closure has been secured.
For several years East Northamptonshire Council has been in talks with the district’s six town councils over the future of the area’s public toilets because it did not feel it could afford to pay the £165,000 annual running costs for them.
But as of this month all the town councils have now signed agreements to take on the maintenance of public toilets in their towns.
Members of Rushden Town Council met in Duck Street yesterday outside one of the town’s two public toilets to mark the hand over.
Town council leader Sarah Peacock said: “We felt that with a town of this size we needed to have public conveniences.
“It is easy for anyone visiting the town, particularly if they have young children or they are elderly, to be caught short.
“There were lots of objections to the idea that the toilets might shut and today, when we were outside the toilets, people were pleased to find out why we were there and that the toilets would remain open.
“Hopefully the public won’t notice any change in service at all. The toilets here are very good and we want them keep running at a high standard.”
Rushden’s chamber of trade chairman Adrian House is pleased the toilets have been saved from closure.
He said: “From a trader’s point of view I’m really pleased that the toilets will remain open after having the threat of closure hanging over them.
“It’s good that the town council has stepped in to take them over.
“If the toilets had been closed permanently it would have been really bad news for shoppers and traders.”
East Northamptonshire Council has been looking at making cuts following a £1.8m cut in its Government funding and a cap on council tax.
Council leader Cllr Steven North said: “I’m pleased that, in the spirit of localism and following a lengthy period of consultation, we are now able to hand over all our public toilets to our town councils, who will continue to maintain these important community facilities for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.”
An audit carried out by the district council last July and August showed over the course of a day the toilets were used by 750 people.
The Oundle toilets were used by 263 people, the toilets in Duck Street, Rushden, were used by 131 people and those in Newton Road, Rushden, were visited by 100 people.
In total 85 people used the Thrapston toilets, 77 used the ones in Higham Ferrers, 76 visited the Irthlingborough toilets and 18 used those in Raunds.