Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors on Bedford Borough Council’s Environment and Sustainable Communities Committee have rejected calls from the Bedford Borough Conservative Group to re-open town centre public conveniences which were closed last year.
Despite the submission of a petition with nearly 1,600 signatures objecting to the closures the sites at Lurke Street, Silver Street and Riverside Square will remain closed. A Community Toilet Scheme has been introduced instead which will see town centre businesses receive a subsidy from the Council to allow visitors to use their facilities.
Cllr Jon Gambold, who is a Conservative member of the Committee said;
‘The concerns expressed by local businesses and the significant number of signatories to the petition show there is a clear desire to reverse at least one of the closures. Local traders have not held back in their assessment that the town centre shopping experience has suffered and business has been damaged.
‘The projected running cost for each facility is unclear and warrants further investigation. Outside of the Committee we have been told it would cost £38,000 a year per site which could surely be reduced. We tried to amend the Committee’s recommendations to argue for a review of the costs with a view to bringing the Lurke Street site back into use. To our dismay the Liberal Democrat and Labour members opted to keep the toilets closed.’