Villages asked to take on toilets

PUBLISHED: 07:25 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 24 May 2010

PARISH councils fear they will be caught short after Sedgemoor District Council voted to hand over responsibility for village toilet blocks. The toilets had been earmarked for closure as part of a council cost-cutting programme. But the district authority

PARISH councils fear they will be caught short after Sedgemoor District Council voted to hand over responsibility for village toilet blocks.The toilets had been earmarked for closure as part of a council cost-cutting programme.But the district authority's executive members have decided to open negotiations with parish councils in Mark, Wedmore, Cheddar and Brent Knoll to see if they will take over the running of the facilities.The toilets on Burnham's Esplanade are to undergo an extension and refurbishment while the adjoining block is knocked down.Wedmore Parish council is appalled with the district council's estimate of £42,000 for refurbishment and £11,515 in annual running costs for its toilets.Parish councillors are asking residents to use them or lose them in an effort to gauge how popular the conveniences are.Council chairman John Sanderson said: "I can't believe it costs that much to run the toilets or £42,000 is needed for refurbishment. We will be discussing all the options with Sedgemoor."Cheddar Parish Council is meeting with the district council to discuss possible funding to run the village's toilets.Parish councillor Jeff Savage said: "We've got to know what the options are to keep the toilets open. The village is a major international tourist location and we need toilets for visitors."The parish council has already allotted its budget until March 2007, so we need to see how the running of the toilets will be paid for."Brent Knoll Parish Council has told Sedgemoor it is interested in taking over the village toilets, but councillors in Mark have declined the offer.A report will be presented to the district council in October to decide which parish councils have signed up to the deal. The toilets are planned to be handed over in March 2007.

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