Has community toilet scheme become an inconvenience?

COUNCILLORS have questioned if Saddleworth’s community toilet scheme is flushed with success.

But rather than pull the chain on the long-standing initiative, they intend loo-king at ways to improve it.

Prior to lockdown, seven venues were involved in the initiative, each receiving renumeration from Saddleworth Parish Council for allowing premises to be used for the public free of charge during normal opening hours and without the need to make a purchase.

They are: Saddleworth Craft Co-operative, Delph, The Junction Inn, Denshaw, The Gate, Diggle, The Swan, Dobcross, The King William IV, Greenfield, The Little Shop, Uppermill and Uppermill Civic Hall.

Parish Council budget cuts have put pressure on councillors to make savings across the board with the community toilet scheme one of the areas under consideration.

However, chair elect Cllr Barbara Beeley says rather than reduce numbers on the toilets roll call, others could be added.

She told the virtual June meeting: “I was in at the beginning when this scheme was set up to replace public toilets that were being shut down and sold off.

“The other idea was to spread them as far and wide in Saddleworth as we could so places like Pennine Way was served.

“It has gradually shrunk but we need to try to encourage people to visit other places apart from Uppermill and Dovestone.

“We need to reappraise all the places that are taking part in this scheme.“If we can avoid it, I am against cutting the money. We need to support local businesses because they are having tough time.

“If we can get the grants I think we are entitled to then perhaps we won’t have to cut that money.

“Can I suggest we do full review of the toilet scheme and we advertise what we are doing so anyone interested joining can put their place forward.”

Cllr Graham Sheldon added: “I agree the whole scheme needs looking at again.”

Previous members of the scheme included The Commercial in Uppermill, The Rams Head at Denshaw and The Diggle Hotel.

Cllr Richard Darlington said: “We need to do a review and agree the budget, and maybe increase it.”

The Parish Council’s environmental committee had previously raised concerns that some participating pubs were not open during the day.

Cllr Pam Byrne told members: “Pubs were often open at lunchtime and in the evenings.

“With the passing of time more pubs are closed during the day which was one of the reasons why no toilets were available.

“Perhaps we should look at all the sites again and look at which are available when people are in the villages which is mostly in the day.

Cllr Sam Al-Hamdani confirmed no monies were currently being paid out due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Cllr Rob Knotts put forward toilets at Holy Trinity Church, Dobcross as a possible future venue.

And Saddleworth Team Vicar, the Rev John Rosedale, told the Independent “in principal” he had no objection to the proposal.

He confirmed: “Holy Trinity is open all day (prior to lockdown), and if they knew there was some money in it, it might be an attractive feature. It would serve the purpose adequately.

“In principal, it is something we would look at.”

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