Town’s toilets to go down the pan?

INCONVENIENCED: The public toilets on Station Road, Mirfield, may be closed as Kirklees Council looks for ways of saving money. (d17011246)
INCONVENIENCED: The public toilets on Station Road, Mirfield, may be closed as Kirklees Council looks for ways of saving money. (d17011246)

spending a penny could become an inconvenient affair as Kirklees Council looks to slash its budget.

The council is considering closing four unstaffed public toilets across the district, including the Station Road conveniences in Mirfield, in a drive to save £53,000 annual running costs.

The prospect of the toilet doors being locked left town leaders and traders flushed with indignation.

Mirfield mayor Pat Sutcliffe said: “If this happened it would be another decision Kirklees hadn’t thought through properly.

“There are a lot of elderly people in the town who come in just to do their shopping and don’t visit cafes. “You can’t just make blanket decisions without looking at the population and the alternative amenities in each particular place.”

Andrew White, of Mick’s Fruit and Veg, said: “What right has Kirklees got to take away our right to spend a penny?

“It would be a kick in the teeth for Mirfield and one less reason for people to shop here. Small towns are picked on when we’re already struggling for customers against bigger markets. The toilets are a public service and if that’s taken away then there’s nowhere else to go.”

His sentiments were echoed by Julie Ellam, who owns Oops-a-Daisy gifts in Huddersfield Road.

She said: “It would be a shame – and a waste of money – to have spent money doing them up and then close them down.”

A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “During these difficult times the council has to explore all opportunities to save money whilst protecting vital services.

“We are exploring the possibility of closing down unattended public toilets but no decisions have been made and the matter is due for further discussion.”

The council-run toilets in Longcauseway, Dewsbury, which have an attendant on duty during opening hours, are not affected by the current deliberations.